One of the challenges of growing produce for the restaurant is cleaning and prepping it for their use. It’s easy to send a basket of zucchini with the chef in the morning, but harvesting, cleaning, spinning, and storing a 10 gallon spinach harvest is another thing all together. I wish I had a commercial 3 bay sink, but I did purchase one tool last fall that is a great help. I ordered a used commercial salad spinner off of eBay. I used it Thursday to triple wash and spin spinach, spinach, spinach, and raddhicio, chicory, mache, and arugula. The chef uses the spinach in many sauteed pasta dishes and the rest was blended together to be added to the leaf lettuce used for side salads. All of it gets washed again at the restaurant and gets used first. The chicory in particular is a delicate green and gets bruised easily. We want it to be as fresh as possible and use it the same day it goes to the restaurant. After I triple wash and spin, I bag it up and store on the back fridge (also indispensable (thanks dad!)).
It may have snowed last night, but in the high tunnel it is spring. The photo above is the “before” picture. Thanks to being ear infection free and Lily being back in school after strep throat, I got a very needed work day. For a glorious 2 hours I weeded, harvested, and planted in the high tunnel beds. It is amazing to me everything that made it through the extreme cold of this winter. Many of the seeds Lily and I planted on New Year’s Eve are coming up now. The very late fall sowings of arugula are now taking off.
Below is a video tour of each bed mad after the big cleanup and planting is done. The focus isn’t always great, but it gets the job done.
Thanks to the weather’s flirtation with freezing this week, the plastic was put on the ends of the high tunnel and we rolled the sides down. Yesterday’s low was 37 and high 59. At 2 PM , the high tunnel was a warm 87–with the screen door open on either end.
I was able to remove the floating row covers from everything yesterday and gather the first harvest. Spicy arugula, tender leaf lettuce, and baby beet greens. I kep enough for a wonderful dinner salad and delivered a pound of arugula to be mixed into salad greens at the restaurant.
When I got to the restaurant, I gave hubby/chef a big hug and kiss. I cannot imagine a better present than the ability to bask and work in the eternal spring of my high tunnel. I will be able to provide fresh produce for our family and the restaurant. More importantly, we will be able to enjoy this farm in a whole new way all winter long.
Here is what is planted:
Beets: Chiogga, Ace, Detroit
Lettuces: Many, many
Spinach: Bloomsdale, Olympia
Swiss Chard: Neon lights
Lacinto Blue Kale
Radishes: French Breakfast, Cherrybelle, and Black
Carrots: Napoli, Little Finger, Dragon, Paris Market, Purple Haze
Onions: Evergreeen Bunching, Crimson Bunching, Italian Flat, Bridger
Peas: Sugar Ann
Worth a try: Green Apple Cucumber, Genovese Zucchini