The summer heat and humidity are here in full force! Sunny days, while making it easier to wake in the mornings and great for days at the beach, can make harvest days at the farm a little tricky. If you are growing plants at home, you may notice that they look pretty sad and begin to wilt as the day progresses. To help preserve the quality and structure of the vegetables you get in your share, we have several strategies to make sure everything stays fresh.
Wilting occurs when a plant can’t take in water fast enough, which is why it’s worse on hot, sunny days. Plants naturally lose water daily from evaporation through microscopic pores in their leaves in a process known as transpiration. On hot, sunny, windy days, this process can happen very quickly and the plant isn’t able to replace the lost water fast enough. Come evening, the plant is able to balance its levels again and looks fine come morning.
We harvest most things during the morning when the sun is low and the plants’ cells still retain their moisture and structure from the night before. We pick leafy greens first, since they are more susceptible to wilting, and we then pick things like scallions, radishes, cabbage and carrots later in the morning. After we harvest into our bins, we place them in the shade of the truck until we are finished. On windy days, we may also bring out wet sheets with us to cover the bins while they sit and wait to go into the cooler. Once we have a full truckload of vegetables, we bring them directly into the cooler and spray the bins with cold water to help reduce the temperature of the crops as quickly as possible.
With so many unusually hot days this early in the season, it has felt like a race to get things in the cooler or in a tub of cold water. Especially as the first few weeks of the shares contain so many leafy greens! But as other vegetables become available, harvest days won’t feel as rushed.
No matter what the weather, we will continue to do our best to give you the highest quality produce!
Until next time,