Friday is harvest day and we turn to the almost iconic white plastic laundry sink as veggie washing station. It’s a one-tub day today, with only beet greens to hydrocool (sometimes dunking in water is to wash off dirt, usually, and especially with above-ground crops, it’s to cool them down to keep ’em fresh, and the term for that is, yep, hydrocooling). The legs on this one gave out, so Jon replaced plastic with wood—a fair bit heavier overall for something we move around and stack, but then, still in service. Make do!
Today was the day I decided to bring out the rinsing gear! Upfront for its fourth (or fifth?) season, the trusty Maytag washer turned giant salad spinner. Once again, after a winter in the unheated drive shed, it started up (on Spin, of course) without a protest. (Maybe it’ll get a cool paint job this year, finally?!) Leaning up against the Milkhouse wall, there’s the original, square screen table (formerly used to sift gravel), and beside it, the new one I built last year—just add sawhorses… On the left, the pair of laundry tubs. Drainage pipes lie on the ground… First harvest can’t be far off!
The new screen table was this year’s big addition to the washing up section of our little post-harvest processing area. Building it earlier this year was quick work: some 2×6 and 1×2 lumber, screwed together, with 1/2″ hardware cloth sandwiched in as tight as I could get it. Hardware cloth is the mesh of choice because it’s welded where the wires cross, so leaves and the like don’t get snagged the way they would in plain woven screen, like chicken wire. Positioned on sawhorses close to the washing machine and tubs makes it easy to pluck crops out of the water and onto the rack to drain. Simple, inexpensive, and one of my favorite bits of harvest gear… The last couple of harvest Fridays have been more work for fewer people, as part of the summer crew left at the beginning of September. With the days getting shorter as well, it’s the first time this year we’ve been finishing up the sorting and packing after dark! This week: mesclun, beet, carrot, spinach, radish, kale, tomato, potato, a few cauliflower and broccoli, squash, hot and sweet peppers, and onions and garlic from storage…
The Milkhouse is an insulated corner of the big old barn. Right now, it’s the Seedling Room.