Jon and Teri's Farm / Blog / A great big salad update - August 17

A great big salad update - August 17

Posted on by Teri Jenkins

<-- Tim and I enjoyed a nice Saturday lunch at The Noodle Guy.  Tippy, our waitress, questioned me about the name of one of the leaves-- red leaf vegetable amaranth-- it is gorgeous, with hot pink veining on the inner part of the leaf, and along with the Nagoya Red kale, my favourite part of the mix.  The Amaranth holds a special place in my heart also because it is a traditional vegetable in Jamaica, so the guys all know it and even grow some green Calaloo for themselves.  Josh thinks it looks like pigweed, and I think they are a similar or related family.

We've been using the same roll of stickers since the beginning, and this week I had to start on a new roll- meaning we have labelled and sold 1,000 bags so far! 

Fortunately our very detailed records reflect this also.  I decided against buying any accounting software for this year and I am just keeping all of our records in a Google Drive.  This is significant-- Since we commute and prepare the salad mix at TapRoot, all of our records can be easily accessed from anywhere, including our labels which are stored in my Dropbox folder.  I can't even count how many times I would have forgotten to print labels at home and we would have been stuck without this.  I keep track of all of our printing in a spreadsheet that also keeps track of our sticker, bag, label, and box use.  We didn't collect enough banana boxes prior to the season and so have had to buy some from the farm lately-- not ideal, but if it saves me an exhausted trip to Superstore to get boxes, right now that is worth some dollars to me!

Here's a screenshot of one of our sheets that keeps track of our supply use.  It is easier to keep track of what we use at the farm rather than sort out buying all of our own supplies and carting them around with us.  It's mostly all automatic-- Meaning that if I put in how many boxes we packed on the sales sheet, it adds those into the supplies used sheet, including the label and sticker that we use on the box (can you tell I'm a details freak?!). 

Another thing that makes our lives easier is that we keep a harvest kit in the car which contains: 2 harvest knives, a roll of stickers, a roll of labels, a handwash kit and sanitizer for our knives, a roll of paper towel, a garbage bag, ziplock bags, and large clear garbage bags for harvest if we forget tubs, and my binder which contains change, pens, markers, labels, invoice book, sales records prior to me entering them in the computer (which I try to stay on top of entering at least bi-weekly).  The salad spinner also lives in our "work truck" aka Honda Civic (which fits 6 tubs, 8 if you don't have a passenger!).  It all feels a little bit makeshift, but our systems are working well and we are cranking out the salad mix-- 476 lbs of greens sold this season, and we have "added a SKU" as Jon says: Arugula.  I thought this stuff was fussy and hard to grow and difficult to harvest, but the arugula is gorgeous right now and I keep hacking down the patches and they just keep coming back, gorgeous chartreuse spicy yummy leaves.  So, that's on the list and we sold some through Southfield last week.  Things are going great, and we are really enjoying it!

To the right is a photo of our Thursday ship this week.  42 bags salad, 12 lbs bulk, 6 bags arugula and 7 lbs bulk for Southfield, 100 bags salad and 10 bags arugula for Noggins.  Thank goodness for the fine folks at Noggins Corner Farm, who are currently buying all that we can produce extra.  Southfield is our first commitment, and we planned to grow twice as much as we expected to need to fill those orders.  We don't have any extra time-- short of the 6 hours or so every night where we just lay there unconscious in the bed-- to market salad mix or take orders from chefs and restaurants, so this is really ideal for us.

Prior to this season, salad mix was never a crop that really grabbed us or inspired us, but as we are finding our production plan really smooth and easy to execute, we are thinking that it may become something we keep as one of our farm items.  We are definitely enjoying it, but will have to crunch the numbers at the end of the season to see if the energy was worth it.  I'd say yes, because last year at this time I was feeling very discouraged and disgruntled with my work.  Nothing is really different this year-- I have an office farm job, which is not where my passion is, and so it's hard to be staring at a screen when all around me people are planting and weeding and harvesting and doing all those things I love-- but, now I am getting to do those things too, and I've found that gives me the balance required to love life.  That, and doing the market in Hammonds Plains on Thursday for Noggins, which I also love. 

Speaking of love, our little friendly kitty (who, I am annoyed at for getting the most blog views ever, over any post about salad!), has now been to the vet and is doing great.  Instead of being a lethargic lump he is a ball of energy, currently bouncing off the walls at our house.  Flea, worm, and Feline Herpesvirus treatment is ongoing, and he is now eating and using the litterbox as normal.  Not getting our hopes up, as the vet said he likely has feline leukemia and so may not be a very long-term kitty, but he is bringing so much joy to our lives right now that we are just focusing on that for now.  He's hilarious and super sweet, the perfect combination of playful and affectionate and curious.  It's so nice to see him feeling better, ripping around the house and playing with pretty much anything he can find.  Samson Salad Mix.

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