The farm needs to fill 110 farm boxes for the CSA program each week. On Tuesdays, the farm crew and volunteers kick into high gear to pick produce to fill 80 boxes for our biggest distribution day.
Summer break means fewer volunteers in the field, so those who come provide vital work. Folks start trickling in around 8:30, and the workday ends around 12:30.
Veggielution’s Colleen Hotchkiss, who’s in charge of distribution, welcomes volunteers to slather on sunscreen, bring a water bottle and wear a hat, close-toed shoes and clothes that can get dirty.
With staff guidance, volunteers head out into the field and load up produce to get weighed before getting packed up.
Harvesting underneath the summer sun is no picnic, but the people would make for a great dinner party.
Intern Thien Tran, who will begin studying agriculture development at UC Davis this fall, worked on an organic farm in Brazil last year. Seeing how hard people worked got him interested in food systems.
“It takes five or six sticks of sugar cane to make a few cups of juice,” he said. “It takes months to grow, and it’s really dangerous.”
The sweetness of sugar cane attracts all manner of species – from bugs to snakes, which swirl around the stalks. Despite the hazards, the Brazilian farmer wore flip flops.
Volunteer Fiona De Los Rios never ate vegetables before, just processed foods.
“Before we just made fuel. Now we make food,” she said of her family’s diet.
If you asked her before what her favorite vegetable is, she wouldn’t have been able to answer.
"Now that's a really hard question," she said before pausing. "Delicata squash."
Carolin Dressler used to intern at Veggielution. She’s from Germany and now has a gig as a nanny. She brought sisters Lorelei, 11, and Pearl, 9, to the harvest day.
“I want to show them what I usually do,” she said, “and they haven’t been to a farm before.”
Joseph Sanseverino started volunteering a few weeks ago and brought his friend Nick Ramirez and little brother, David, to the harvest day.
“He doesn’t do anything,” Joseph said of David, who denied the claim.
Joseph teaches his brother how to work on cars. Now they’re learning how to grow food together.
Between golf, Crossfit and seven grandkids, volunteers and Farm Box members Tom and Becky Hammer still find time each Tuesday to help out with the harvest.
“We’re retired, so we play. Hard,” Tom said.