Since news of Hurricane Irene started to circulate we have been joined by numerous volunteers to help harvest all produce that is ripe for the picking. Over the past couple of days new faculty have taken time from their busy days of orientation to harvest some Striped German and German Cavern Tomatoes with us. Today longterm volunteers Marie Kelly, Lyn Feeney, and Tim Watts, and a couple of new volunteers from facilities joined me in the fields to pick any remaining Juliet, Bellstar and New Girl tomatoes before the rains began to fall. We laid them out with care in the greenhouse to allow their morning dew to evaporate before weighing and boxing them up for our partners.
As the volume of tomatoes increases, we continue to deliver to The Table at Father Bill’s & MainSpring and Old Colony YMCA. We are so thankful for our partnership with My Brother’s Keeper who not only continue to pick up and share our produce with those who receive home deliveries, but also ensure that any extra produce is shared with other organizations in Brockton addressing hunger and nutrition including Catholic Charities and the Charity Guild. In addition, we are happy to be working with the Salvation Army who have started to pick up tomatoes from us on a weekly basis.
Knowing that our tomatoes and other produce will be distributed and shared efficiently and with care incites us to pick any and all ripe produce without the concern that it will go to waste. The willingness of these partners to ensure timely delivery of perishable produce like tomatoes is a wonderful thing to witness and displays a deep level of commitment to the people they serve. This distribution link is often the most challenging piece in food systems work, and we enjoy working with partners who recognize this and work hard to ensure delivery from farm to table.
We are committed to sharing fresh produce with our partners into October which is why you will see young greens dotting the fields when you visit us online or in person.
So, back to Hurricane Irene. Am I worried about the approaching storm? A bit, but I have learned a great deal this summer about the resilience of the plants growing at The Farm. During a thunderstorm this summer I sat in my car, windshield wipers on high, and watched in horror as the wind and rain pelted and shook our tomato and pepper plants. I wish I had known at that moment that I had little to worry about, as a few hours later the pepper plants that had tumbled over in the wind had bounced back and only a couple of tomato stakes needed to be reset. I harvested ripe tomatoes and peppers from these plants just yesterday!
We also have a good crop of carrots, turnips, beets, and radishes that are naturally taking cover below the surface. Our kale, lettuce, leeks, flowers, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other high profile crops may get quite a work out tomorrow during the storm, but I will be very surprised if they don’t bounce back and appear in harvest and donation bins within a week.