Sunday, September 22, 2013

Working the Harvest

Solanum Lycopersicum
If you are wondering why you have not heard anything from us in a while it is because we have taken itinerant jobs working in the fertile hills of California’s central valley.  After seeing what there is to see of Yellowstone and Yosemite (and the vast emptiness in between that is the never ending state of Nevada) we got a call from an old friend who needed help getting the crop in.  So we headed to the farm just in time to help bring in a bumper crop of perfect organic California tomatoes.
We’re living in our little Toyota Dolphin parked out by the well and getting up and going to work every day just like migrant farm workers have done for thousands of years.  It is a humbling but a rich experience.

First we spent days wiring up the vines so they could hold the ever growing fruit as they grow fatter by the day.  There is fertilizing and watering to be done each day along with other miscellaneous chores necessary to keep the farm in tip top condition. .  Once the plants reach their peak of development we cut them down and separate the fruit from the stem, handling them very carefully so as not to bruise.  The farm specializes in organic heirloom varieties such as Black Prince, Purple Calabash, Pineapple, and Brandywine Pink.  

Each plant variety develops a little differently and is harvested at its peak.   After a dusty day in the fields or a long set in the trimming and packing barn we relax under our little RV awning and drink cold Mexican beer thinking of our beautiful boat Traveler waiting for our return.  Meanwhile, one day melts into another, the cash rolls in and our depleted cruising kitty grows again, just like those big Beefsteak tomatoes on the vine.
Connie playing the ukulele on our lunch break
Driving the Yamaha Rhino is a lot of fun.  You would not believe how rough the roads are here.