As part of our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) food share, we had the opportunity to visit the organic farm where the food comes from and harvest some of the easier crops. Today, we harvested garlic. It’s hours after we’ve finished and we still smell like garlic! Now we know why it’s nicknamed the “stinking rose.” We’ll never take fresh local food for granted again.
We arrived at StarBrite Farm at 10:00. Farmer John (yes, that’s actually what he goes by) hopped on his tractor and led his happy worker bees over to the field like an eco-friendly pied piper. We went past rows and rows of herbs, tomatoes, peppers and many other summer veggies that weren’t ready yet. Finally, we arrived at the garlic. It was identifiable by the drying yellow and green stalks sticking about two feet out of the ground. Once all the workers were assembled in the field, we were given a quick lesson on how to pull the stalks, clean them off and stack them in the plastic bins. By the time we were filling our third bin, we were drenched in sweat and covered in organic dirt. Hey, at least the gritty stuff in our eyes and mouth wasn’t filled with pesticide!
Ed and I filled about six of the large crates altogether. The entire group of about 20 people filled the farm’s van to capacity at least twice with newly harvested garlic. It was an incredible amount of one crop. We were all starting to whither once the afternoon sun came on. The lucky part was that it was only about 80 degrees and not too humid. We could have been in much worse shape.
The next time you’re in the produce aisles, remember your local farmers and all the hard work they’re doing to bring you fresh local vegetables and fruit. Everyone should harvest something once in their lives, too. Especially here in New Jersey… we are the Garden State after all!
See our photo essay below covering our morning out in Andover at StarBrite Farm.
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