Sattin Hill Market Farming Course Module 19: Harvesting, Packaging, and Selling (FSFS257)

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Episode Summary

This episode of Farm Small Farm Smart features the nineteenth and final module of the Sattin Hill Market Farming Course, where Josh Sattin discusses tips and strategies on harvesting crops using different tools and equipment, as well as packaging produce, selling, and delivering them to customers.

Today’s Guest: Josh Sattin

Josh Sattin is a farmer at Sattin Hill Farm in Raleigh, North North Carolina. As an educator and professional videographer, Josh has published hundreds of educational farming videos on his YouTube to help make a difference in the local farming and foodscape.

            Josh Sattin – YouTube | Instagram | Website

In this episode of Farm Small, Farm Smart

  • An overview of the Sattin Hill Farm Course Module 19 (01:37)
  • The tools and equipment used for harvesting (02:03)
    • Labeled totes (02:05)
    • A reliable scale (02:50)
    • A sharp harvest knife (03:30)
    • Rubber bands for bunching and packing (03:38)
    • Greens harvester (03:49)
  • Some general harvesting tips (04:13)
    • Harvest a little bit more (04:26)
    • Don’t spend too much on the scale (05:10)
    • Shelf-life stability (05:51)
  • The best time to harvest crops (06:20)
    • Keep in mind the time of year (07:06)
  • Harvesting strategies for specific crops (08:13)
    • Harvesting and cleaning lettuce (08:15)
      • Bed clean up after harvest (10:12)
      • Mind how and where you cut the lettuce (11:13)
      • Washing the lettuce (13:22)
      • Packaging lettuce (16:39)
    • Harvesting, washing, and packing baby greens (21:22)
      • Using the Greens Harvester (21:45)
    • Harvesting and washing root crops (23:28)
      • Continual harvests by thin harvesting (23:17)
      • Greens or no greens (23:52)
      • Storing root crops (26:45)
    • Harvesting bunching crops (28:31)
      • Bring a set number of rubber bands (28:43)
  • How Josh Sattin sells his produce to his chef customers (31:54)
    • Communicating the available crops (32:22)
    • Invoicing using Square (33:31)
  • Delivering the produce to customers (34:58)
    • Keep coolers cool with ice packs (35:26)
  • Selling and delivering to farmer’s markets and CSAs (36:42)

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FSSF257 (SHFC #19)

[00:00:00] Diego Footer: Welcome to farm small farm smart. I'm your host Diego, DIEGO. The time is finally here. We are at the last module of the Sattin hill farm course. Today it's module 19 on harvesting, washing, packing, and selling. This is the 19th and final module in the course. Can you believe we've done that many? I hope you've enjoyed all the modules so far.

[00:00:29] In fact, I'd love to hear what you've thought about them. Send me an email with your feedback. I'm looking for things like did this help, was it valuable? Do you wanna see more content like this? If so, like what? Is there other modules that we should add onto the course? Are there things you want us to go into in more depth?

[00:00:52] Would you like to see a print version of this course? All of your feedback is very, very helpful. So if one or more of the modules have helped you along the way, and I know a lot of people have listened, I can see all the clicks, please let me know your thoughts.

[00:01:13] Now, let's jump into it. The final module, module 19 with Josh Sattin.

[00:01:21] Josh Sattin: Hey, there, welcome to module 19 of the Sattin hill farm course. This module is all about harvesting, washing, packing, and selling your products. And before we get into it, I just had to have a huge thanks to our sponsor, Paperpot Co. Without the help of Diego and Paperpot Co., this entire course wouldn't be possible. And more on them later.

[00:01:37] in this module, I will cover the year that you'll need some general tips when to harvest harvesting specific things like lettuce, baby green. Root crops and kale, and also go over packaging selling and delivering.

[00:01:54] Hope you got a chance to check out the last module, which was all about the wash pack station, where I go through all the gear that I need to wash and pack all the stuff in my, on my farm here. And so let's talk about some of the gear you'll need for harvesting. First of all, I need a bunch of totes. Uh, you don't need anything specific.

[00:02:08] I bought these at Lowe's. These are like the 18 gallon totes. But one thing I wanna point out is that you label them as like harvest or field or dirty, because what happens over time is they get, um, they get a lot of dirt in them, obviously because you're harvesting right outta the ground, especially with root crops, they can get pretty dirty.

[00:02:24] And so what you wanna make sure is that you're not contaminating your clean product. So if you are washing products and then storing them in totes, label those clean or finished or something like SEP something completely separate. You don't want that cross contamination. So when we're done harvesting, we rinse these out and then we put 'em upside down on the drying screen here to let everything dry out. So, um, a bunch of these totes are great.

[00:02:45] Make sure they fit in your walkways or at least close, but, uh, yeah, you need a bunch of these. The next thing is gonna be a scale. Uh, I like analog scales for this to bring onto the field, no batteries to replace. Also, it's very easy to tare them. And then the, you don't have to worry about it turning on and off.

[00:03:00] So what I'll do is I'll bring this out to the field. I'll put the bin on it and then I'll tare the scale and then I can take this. Go do my harvesting, bring the toe back and just check the weight. Now it's really important for me to check the weight out in the field because I wanna make sure I harvest enough.

[00:03:14] And I also wanna make sure I don't harvest too much so that things don't go to waste. Once I get into the wash process, I wanna just be washing. I don't wanna have to be going back out and grabbing a few more pounds or whatever. And especially if you have a crew, you can tell them exactly how much to, to get, and they'll be accurate with it.

[00:03:28] And it gives you a good judge. What, while you're out there. Another thing is a harvest knife. Uh, I use these little red serrated knives, they're inexpensive. I just really like 'em they work really well rubber bands, which we'll use for packaging as well, but these are great for bunching crops like kale or chard or green onions, things like that.

[00:03:47] I use the same rubber bands. And lastly, probably the coolest tool as the greens harvester from farmer's friend. And this is an awesome tool. I highly recommend this. You need a cordless drill for this as well. If you're doing any sort of baby green. This is an indepe indispensable tool. You absolutely need this, but it is a little bit pricey. I haven't been doing a lot of baby greens lately, so this guy's just been hanging out, but this is something you will need. If you're doing baby greens.

[00:04:13] Before we go over a lot of the specific details in this module, I wanna give you some general tips just to kick it off. So as I was talking about before with the scale and the harvest totes, make sure you bring that scale out to the field and tare it and do your weighing out in the field. And you always wanna harvest a little bit more.

[00:04:27] So for example, if you need 10 pounds of lettuce, I usually personally tack on like 15 to 20%. So I would harvest like 11 and a half or 12 pounds. When I was at Raleigh city farm. We had a lot of interns and a lot of variability. I used to give them a little bit higher of a number, like 30 to 40%. So if I needed 10 pounds, I tell 'em go get 14 because there's a little bit of quality control you have to do.

[00:04:46] Once you get back in the wash pack station, maybe you lose a little bit, water weight if things are wet, uh, all those variables. So make sure you have enough because you really don't wanna have to go back out in the field. If, when you're done, you have extra product, you can either sell it. If you have a sales outlet for that, like a farm stand or you're gonna a farmer's market, or you can take some home, give it to your friends, donate it, all that kind of stuff, but make sure you have at least a little bit extra.

[00:05:07] You don't wanna be short, have to go back to the field. When you're weighing out the packages, make sure that you don't spend a ton of time just trying to get it exactly right. So if you're trying to do five ounce bags, for example, if you're a little bit over, that's fine and you definitely wanna make sure you're not shorting your customers whatsoever.

[00:05:24] So if you promise five ounces, you definitely don't wanna be under that. If you're giving them two pounds in a bag to a restaurant, you don't wanna be under that. But if when you go over, if you're over within 0.2 0.3 0.4 ounces, That's fine. I know a lot of people will really try to be careful about that.

[00:05:38] So you're not wasting too much per bag. That's understandable, but you can waste a lot of time, every single bag. If you have to weigh out 50 bags and you're sitting there with each bag for a minute, you can see how much time that adds up. That's a thing that you really wanna keep in mind. Shelf life stability is a big part of how we're gonna be harvesting, washing, packing, and storing our crops.

[00:05:58] That's a huge advantage that you have as a farmer. That's local is that you can harvest it the day before or the day of, and get it to the customers and it's super fresh, but you wanna make sure that in that process, you're not losing quality. And one of the biggest things you can do is as soon as you harvest off the field, you get it into the cooler.

[00:06:14] So let's get on talking about when you wanna be harvesting.

[00:06:20] A lot of this will depend on what time of year that it is for you. But generally speaking in the warmer months, you definitely wanna harvest as early in the day as possible. And sometimes you wanna make, want to wake up and get out even earlier than usual when it's really hot outside. The reason for this is you've probably seen this in the afternoon where the crops don't look so great in the, in the full heat there's they get kind of limp.

[00:06:40] They're not really happy. You can water them a little bit and they may perk up, but the best they're gonna look is first thing in the morning. And they're the least amount of stress. Sometimes if you harvest it later, the crops can rebound, but generally not, you always wanna harvest them in the best possible situation.

[00:06:55] Especially with lettuce. If you harvest it later in the day, it will taste more bitter. Sometimes it'll even cut it and you'll get like a white Milky substance that comes out of it. You definitely wanna try to avoid that harvest it first thing in the morning, for sure. Also keep in mind the time of year, because in the warmer months, things bolt.

[00:07:11] Quickly, especially greens, which is one of the main, my main crops. Bolting is when the crops grow up and they stretch out tall and they're turn, they eventually will put out flowers and then seeds, of course you wanna harvest it way before that, but you wanna be careful about each succession and that you're harvesting it early enough.

[00:07:27] If you don't get out there early enough, then it might bolt. And especially in the warmer months, you might have to harvest more than once a week, even if you're harvesting only once a week, because you could think it was almost ready and you come back a week later and it's too big. Also keep in mind when you're out working by yourself or with a crew that will change this a little bit.

[00:07:45] So for me personally, I'm working by myself. So I'll go on the field in the morning, harvest everything I need to harvest and then put everything in the cooler and then come in and wash. Now, if you have a larger crew or more than one person, you might start harvesting together and then one person transition or multiple people transition into the wash pack station and start washing.

[00:08:02] While more stuff is coming off the field. You'll have to fill out, figure that out for yourself. But again, the key is start as early as possible in the day.

[00:08:13] Now we'll get on to talking about specific crops and we'll kick it off with lettuce because lettuce is my most important crop. There are lots of ways to grow harvest store store and sell lettuce. You can sell head lettuce and this might do really well at your farmer's market. You might have chefs that prefer larger leaf lettuce.

[00:08:28] If they're doing like burgers and sandwiches and stuff like that. What I found is that I'd like to do a washed cut leaf lettuce, and I've been doing the salad Sonova foundation mix. It looks really pretty. It's very flexible. And when I do this, when I start my seeds, I mix all the seeds together. So it's randomized when I transplant out in the field, it's randomized.

[00:08:44] So when I go through and harvest it, then I get a randomized mix of lettuce and I don't have to mix it later. So that works really well for me. Now, this, my season is now over at Sattin Hill Farm, so I don't have that to show you, but I have some older footage here. So bear with me and check this out, explaining how you should harvest lettuce and also clean up afterwards.

[00:09:04] So we're gonna use a simple harvest knife. Uh, this is a small, serrated knife. Uh, I'll leave a link down below for this it's super cheap. This is kind of what I like to use. What you wanna do is you wanna grab the lettuce head with, uh, I'm a righty. So I grab the lettuce head with my left hand and I'm gonna make a cut across and pull that off in one bunch.

[00:09:19] So let me do one here and you wanna make sure that you don't cut it too low because we wanna make sure we try to get a regrowth. So there's my cut. And I'll often look around the outside. Look for damage. If I have a damage leaf or two, I'll just drop. For now and then in the bin. And so as I go through this, you can see it's pretty quick and I'm already creating that mix in my tote.

[00:09:46] I'm just gonna go through here and get a bunch of harvesting. Done. Lettuce is looking amazing. You could see that I, you can't use the greens harvester for this, but it's pretty quick. And I usually, what I do is I straddle the. And I just work my way down like this

[00:10:12] now that that's all harvested and tucked away. Um, I'm gonna go through and clean up a bed. This only takes a few minutes and it's really important. Let me show you what I'm talking about. All right. So I'm gonna come through here and just clean this up. Um, all these leaves that are touching the ground are not good enough quality to sell.

[00:10:25] Some of them are actually kind of dried up and, and ROED or whatever, but I wanna make sure that I come. And I just take all the leaves around the base of the plant off what this does is a couple things. It keeps those from rotting and it also makes sure you have more airflow around the plant to keep them healthy.

[00:10:41] So I just come through very quickly and do this. Makes a big difference. If you're trying to get a second cut this time of year, I'll probably get one, one more cut. Uh, middle of summer. I often don't even try for a second cut. They just, uh, they bolt too quickly. It's just, uh, lettuce is not a summer crop.

[00:10:59] Uh, so we're just trying to get that first. Really nice cut. And that's that's about it. All right. So I got this cleaned up for the most part, and this is kind of what you're looking for when you're done. It only takes a few minutes to go through the bed. It's totally worth it. Um, otherwise those leaves on the ground will rot.

[00:11:11] They'll get wet. They'll get stuff growing in 'em and bugs in there. And so you wanna have a good airflow. One thing I wanna point out is, uh, when you're starting to cut the lettuce, you don't wanna cut it too low. Right. And you also want to cut it straight across because if you cut it at a slant or if you cut it too low, you might cut it in a place where it'll, it'll keep it from growing again.

[00:11:31] So you really wanna try to get another cut. And so you wanna try to get it basically pretty uniform. Um, if you cut it too low, you'll see it just won't regrow or a grow back really, really weak. And so I'm gonna take you over the bed that we harvested from last week and I'll show you what that looks like.

[00:11:46] All right. So here's some lettuces that we harvested from last week. You see some of these. You can see where it was cut and where it's regrowing. So this is about a week's worth of growth. I bet you might get a harvest outta this next week. We'll see. Uh, so these are all, hopefully you guys can see this it's they're cut and then they're regrowing outta the middle.

[00:12:00] So that's awesome. Here's one that did not do so well after the cut. I think it was cut a little bit low. Uh, it's just it's this one's dying, but you can see if you cut them. Well, they will regrow, um, every success success of cut will harvest. Quality goes down a little bit. Usually, especially in the summer, as I said, you may not get more than one harvests in the summer, but you always try.

[00:12:20] Um, and then it gets to a point in the year where, you know, that's just gonna be one harvest, but if you make a nice cut, that's not too low, you get a nice regrowth. So I just wanna show you what that looks like. I'm filling up the greens bubble over here so I can show you how I wash and pack lettuce here at the.

[00:12:34] It's basically the same way that I've been doing it at Raleigh city farm and also at the previous setup of my farm. So hopefully you watch the wash pack station video to explain all the details here, but I wanna show it to you, you know, as I'm working through here. And one point I wanna make about, uh, getting a second cut is that most of the year, I don't really consider the second cut.

[00:12:52] Uh, especially in the warm months I make one cut of lettuce and that's out because the stuff's growing so quickly. The second cut. If I get one is usually of lower quality and definitely a lower yield. In the cooler months. I definitely wanna try to get more than one cut because things grow so slowly that if I did transplant new lettuce out, it would take way longer.

[00:13:10] And the yields per bed would be less than if I just let it go and then harvested it a couple weeks later, I generally do get second cuts in the cooler months, but in the warmer once, I definitely don't do that. All right. So once this is finished, I'll show you how to watch some lettuce. The greens bubbler is all full of water and the Hudson float valve over here shuts it off automatically.

[00:13:26] One thing I do is I just turn the valve off after it's. Because I noticed as it's bubbling and you're pulling things out. This might kick on and off a little bit as the water level is bouncing around. So this is all full, ready to go. I got some lettuce here, as I said, it's not very much, but, uh, I'm gonna dump it in here to show you how this works.

[00:13:47] And this is definitely less. I could probably get, I usually put about, um, you know, a half a tote in there at a time probably. Six ish pounds, maybe more, but the less you put in here, the better it'll have more room to like move around and it'll clean better. So we kick this on and just keep an eye on it.

[00:14:03] You don't wanna bubble it too long because you can damage the greens, especially if they're really delicate, like baby greens, you don't really wanna bubble 'em that long, but what this does, is it loosens up any bugs or dirt, and then we turn it off. Most of that's fall to the bottom. So I didn't let that run very long, but also because I know it's pretty clean.

[00:14:19] I've already looked at this lettuce and what we're gonna do. We're just gonna scoop it out. I use this little fry basket, which I talked about before, and this goes in the spinner. And as I'm doing this, as I said in the last module, it's really helpful. If you have cold water, it really does help the, um, keeping the greens as fresh as possible.

[00:14:39] And you can even add ice to your water. If, uh, you know, it's not cold enough. All right. So once we get, as I said, this was a very, very small load. This is definitely not the normal level I'd be using, but we throw in the salad spinner over here and we kick that on. I usually run, let it run for about six minutes or so. So we just turn that on and we'll come back in a few minutes.

[00:15:06] The spinners all done spinning, and I'm gonna take this and dump it on the drying screen. And as I said before, I'm just doing this for demonstration purposes. If I was doing this in full production mode, I would have all three going at the same time. So as soon as I empty this onto the screen, I would then bubble it and take some more out and put it in here and then constantly fill it up.

[00:15:23] So I have all three going at once. And once again, that rhythm that's when you can really crank through a good amount of volume. So we take out the, the lettuce here and dump it on the screen.

[00:15:37] And then turn on the fans

[00:15:43] and make sure that you spread it out. Otherwise it won't dry. I would say generally speaking, I can get about five pounds on here comfortably to have it dry. Um, and one thing you wanna also keep in mind is the humidity. So if it's really humid outside or if you're not in air conditioning, that sort of thing, then it will take a lot longer to dry.

[00:16:04] So as this is here, you want to be fluffing it and moving it around. Cuz what'll happen is the top layer will dry. You also wanna keep in mind that you don't want to get to be too wilted, cuz that'll obviously cause damage to it. So you gotta keep an eye on it. You gotta feel it every couple minutes, you flip it around and you can feel it with your hands to see how wet it is.

[00:16:22] And this sort of works out in the process where all the timing kind of works. While the next round is spinning. This is drying and you can just work it around in the cycle. So let this dry and lemme show you how to package it.

[00:16:39] Now, the lettuce is dry. I'm gonna start packaging it. And this is a crucial point in the whole farming process. Is this last step here. So this dry screen here, of course DRS the greens, but also gives us an opportunity to, uh, go through and use it for quality control purposes. So I know this is probably a job that you wanna pass off to someone else pretty quickly in your, in your farming.

[00:17:02] Um, team, but this is a very crucial part. So make sure that they're trained well, they understand what's going on because when I'm looking here, I'm looking for either rotten leaves, any quality control, as I said, any weeds that might be in here bugs any of that sort of stuff, because what's going off this into the bag is what the customer's getting.

[00:17:19] So you wanna take your time here and don't rush this too much. And then when you go to package it, for example, for me here, I'm selling a restaurant. So most of my lettuce, I put in these bags and I do two pounds, um, as a standard bag size. So I'll go through and. And grab all this. And as I said, these, this was not an ideal cut.

[00:17:41] These are very small leaves, but I just wanted to use this for demo purposes. So I don't even know if I'll have two pounds here, but once you get it in, I usually don't stress about getting every last little bit out because then you'll be going with the next round. Let me just show you the packaging here.

[00:18:00] So this is definitely not two pounds, but I have my scale over here, tared out the zeroed out, and then I know how much the bag weighs. And I guess, as I said, make sure you're going over the weight. You never wanna short your customers. So once you get your two pounds, what I do is I just leave a little bit of air sort of in the top like that.

[00:18:20] And then I spin the bag and then use a rubber band here to close it up. This is a very simple packaging. That's worked well for me, keeping the air in the top allows us not to get squished when you're packing in coolers and things like that. If it's a different weight, uh, than two pounds, I'll label it with a Sharpie or anything like that.

[00:18:40] And then I put it in the fridge back here.

[00:18:47] So. This whole process is going on at the same time, I'm bubbling, spinning, drying. And because I'm just packing off the backside here, the flow works really, really well. So as I said in the last video, You need to take time to think about the flow of materials and also how the people will move around. So this is how I package it in two pound bags.

[00:19:06] Let me show you an older video clip where I package it in smaller bags. Just to show you guys here, got a bag, put the rule in it.

[00:19:20] We're doing five ounce bags today, which is pretty common in like a supermarket. You see five ounces, cause that's like roughly a third of a pound and you just wanna make sure you give the customer at least that much. If you go over a little bit, I mean, that was a lot over. Um, it's no big deal. So

[00:19:41] you don't wanna spend too much time Ling an ounce or two here or there. And then to get a nice bag. What I like to do is hold the bag up towards the top and bunch it, and we're trying to trap air inside here. So when we spin it, you can see we. Quite a bit of air on the top. And then I use this bag taper here.

[00:20:07] There you go. Package arugula. Well, when you're all done packaging for that either for the day or for that crop, or if you're switching over another crop, the neat thing is because this will spin like this. You can just smack the screen. And, uh, most of the greens come right off and you're ready for, uh, for the next round.

[00:20:33] Let me jump in here real quick and take a minute to talk about our sponsor paper pot co, as I mentioned at the beginning of this module and at every module, this entire course is sponsored by Paperpot Co. This course wouldn't be possible without the help generosity and support of Diego and Paperpot Co.

[00:20:47] And I really, really appreciate that. I know I say this all the time, but they're committed to the farming community is just unparalleled. They have great tools, equipment and supplies over at paper, You should definitely go check it out. They have awesome customer service and they are a reliable place to buy things from not just in terms of tools.

[00:21:03] They also support the farming community in terms of education. Diego's a great content creator. Check out his YouTube channel and also his podcast like farm small farm smart. In addition to all that, there are extra researchers for this course over at paper, Now back to the module,

[00:21:22] talk for a few minutes about baby Green's harvesting and washing here. Now you can harvest it with a harvest knife. Like one of those little knives, like I showed. And if you do that a few times on any bit of scale, you realize that it's crazy and it'll take too long. You will get a more accurate harvest if you do it by hand.

[00:21:35] So there are some times where I will go in by hand, if I only need a few pounds or if I really don't have a lot, and I really need to eat out that little bit, but if I'm clearing whole beds or most of beds, I'm gonna lean on the greens harvester most of the time. So this is a cool tool by farmer's friend.

[00:21:49] You've probably heard of this before. It runs with a cordless drill. Essentially you run this, the blade spins back and forth in the front and the brushes throw the greens into the back. And then you can dump this in a bin, a couple things about this is that it can be a dangerous tool and you have to be very, very careful with it.

[00:22:05] So train yourself, train your staff. The blade on this is super sharp and it's serrated and I cut myself with it one time and it was, it was pretty brutal. So just be very, very careful with it in terms of harvesting. It's pretty easy. You just, uh, let the thing run and you. Pull the, um, harvester over the bed and you, after a while you get a sense of the feel of it and how high you wanna keep it above the bottom.

[00:22:31] And depending on how long the greens are too. So if it got a little bit longer, you probably wanna hold it a little bit higher. So you, you leave less stem growing there. You can also use this to clear out beds, uh, before you flip the bed. So. If you have some baby greens that maybe isn't great for a second cut, you can harvest it really low.

[00:22:48] And then if you, you're curious to how I flip baby green beds. There's a previous module about that in the, uh, the no till section. So great tool. Uh, absolutely crucial. As I said, for harvesting baby greens, once you get them harvested, I watch 'em the same way I wash lettuce. So into the bubbler, the spinner and the dryer, and that all goes the same way.

[00:23:08] Now we'll talk about root crops and I'm gonna group these all together, cuz they're pretty similar. But for me it's gonna be mainly bets and carrots, of course, radishes and other things will fall into this category. And one thing to do when you're harvesting is what's called thin harvesting. So when you go out to harvest, you just go through and you pick out all the largest ones and then you come back next week and there'll be some more large ones.

[00:23:28] So you just keep doing that for several weeks. I found that some beds are harvest off the same bed for weeks on end, uh, and just con get a continual harvest. And that's awesome. And allow things to size up a little bit. Of course, you can sell things smaller if your customers want them that. For example carrots.

[00:23:43] Uh, my chefs don't want them too large, so I have to harvest someone they're a little bit smaller. That's kind of how they prefer them, but there you go. Uh, I usually harvest them into totes. And the other thing you wanna keep in mind about root crops is if your customers want the greens or if they don't want the greens.

[00:23:57] So if I'm selling at a farmer's market, for example, I probably wanna leave the greens on, uh, generally people like carrots and beats with the tops on cuz they look fresh. They're fun. You're obviously getting to. Pretty quickly. So the greens will be in good shape. I found that with chefs, they don't want the greens with carrots.

[00:24:11] Uh, so what I do is while I'm harvesting, I will just twist the, uh, the greens off and keep the base of the, you know, the carrot with just a little bit of green on the top. And I keep two bins out with me while I'm working. And the greens go in one bin, which goes in the compost and the carrots go in the other bin.

[00:24:26] I bring those in and wash them. They liked a little bit of green on the end. They, they cook with it. Usually they're like roasting the whole carrot, or maybe cutting in half. As I said, they like the smaller greens, but if the smaller carrots, but again, whatever your customers want is what you should be delivering now with beets.

[00:24:41] It's kind of both ways. So I have a few bets here to show you at certain times of the year, the greens look great. And some of my chefs actually cook with these they'll make like a braising greens dish. They'll mix with this, with chard and kale and spinach and all sorts of stuff. And they'll actually use this.

[00:24:54] So they really like getting the whole thing, cuz it's cool. But if they don't want. What I'll do is I'll just do similar with the carrots. I'll just twist off the leaves and then sell it like this. And just leave a little bit on the top again, if they're, if they're cooking with this, sometimes they like a little bit of that.

[00:25:07] It makes it look fresher, fancier for, for their customers. And then either we can eat these or they'll get composted. Now, either way, if you are twisting the tops off of beets, or if you're doing it with carrots after I bring in that tote, then I'll just soak it for a few minutes, you know, fill it up with some water and let all the dirt and stuff sort of loosen up and then I'll go and wash.

[00:25:28] So pretty simple process. And then if I was doing the beats out in the field, and I knew that either they were, the leaves were enough shape or the customers didn't want it, I would do the same thing. I'd just bring out two bins and sort it out that way. So what I've been doing here is I have been. Using just this sink here to clean them off.

[00:25:49] And then put them on the drying screen here. So let me give you an example here of one that have the greens on. So I'll just spray off the foot, the soil.

[00:26:04] And then onto the drawing, the, the screen here. And I'll just lay them across as I go. And after a while, when this fills. I will put them on the rack, which I talked about in the last module about the wash pack station. So a pretty straightforward process here. If I'm just doing the root part, like just the beet or just the carrot.

[00:26:21] I'll just dump the whole bin with water, into the sink and then just spray them all off and then put them on the drawing screen and same process. Now this would be better if I had like a screen on the top, uh, then I could lay the roots down and spray through them. We had that at Raleigh city farm, and it worked great.

[00:26:37] I just haven't set it up here. I also use the sink for multiple purposes, so this has been working out okay. I kind of just take my time and make sure it's nice and clean. It's, uh, it's important to do that. Now, in terms of storage, uh, there's a couple ways you can do this. If you're wanting to leave the greens on, then you gotta get 'em out pretty quickly.

[00:26:52] If you are looking to store the roots longer, then you probably wanna take all of this off and maybe even cut it just cuz this is the part that's gonna rot the quickest. So if you get it nice and dry and get in the fridge and wrap 'em up, they'll be good. Carrots will last a while. I think that even with the little green tops on them, on the carrots, they'll last.

[00:27:09] Uh, week or two. Um, but I generally sell everything anyways. So keep in mind about storage. Beets can be a good storage crop, but you wanna make sure and carrots, but you wanna make sure that you take off the, uh, any of the, the greens on the top here. Otherwise these will rot and then the whole thing will rot.

[00:27:24] Overall pretty simple with B with root crops. They're awesome. And, uh, they're very profitable for me. And, uh, I usually, what I'll do is, as I mentioned in the first in the last module is that I will do, usually once I get everything off the field, I will do the root crops first, let them dry on the dry screen and then start the lettuce.

[00:27:45] And then by the time I'm D Mo mostly don't lettuce, they'll be completely dry. And then I can go to packaging those up and I package these up the same way that I do with the lettuce. I just use those big bags. I usually put about if I'm doing it with the greens, 10 pounds of, uh, beets in a bag. And then if I'm doing loose carrots, like I mentioned, usually about 10 pounds of carrots in there too.

[00:28:08] Now for me, I'm selling just to restaurant. So I'm packaging a bulk, but if you're selling to a farmer's market or to a CSA, you wanna just take a rubber band and make bundles of carrots or beets or whatever, and figure out what your package size is based on your pricing. And you can just bundle 'em out in the field and then bringing them in and wash them. As I was showing you, and as I work here, I am selling bulk to restaurants.

[00:28:31] Now, on a bunch of crops. And for this, I'm really talking about things like kale, Swiss, char, green onions, those sorts of things. I don't have that stuff growing on the farm here, as I said, my season's over, but here's some clips showing you how to harvest that. One thing I like to do is, uh, especially if you're sending a, a crew of people out or a helper or whatever, or even yourself is get the number of rubber bands out for the number of bunches that you want ahead of.

[00:28:53] When I'm bunching. I just forget. I lose track. Trust me. It's very hard to keep track of. So if you need 10 bunches, put 10 rubber bands on your hand or 20, count them before you get started. Then when you're outta rubber bands, you're done harvesting super simple, very effective. I just keep 'em on these three fingers, but you can put 'em on your wrist.

[00:29:08] Whatever works for you. All right. Harvesting is pretty simple, but one thing you wanna keep in mind is that you're gonna be letting this grow. And getting multiple harvests out of it. So you wanna make sure you don't take too much off the plant, but what you do is you go down to the outer leaves and you wanna find the ones that are big enough that you'd like to harvest.

[00:29:25] And you find them right here at the joint down here, and you wanna just snap it down and nice and clean. And that's your leaf. And you just work around the plant, getting all the larger outer leaves or branches, stems, whatever. And you wanna make sure that you leave enough full age in the middle. That it'll regenerate.

[00:29:46] And you can see down here that this plant's been harvested. Plenty. You can see this nice thick stem here. It's been harvested up and it's just gonna keep growing. It's great. So, um, we're just gonna go around here and try to get a bunch and

[00:30:04] you can make the bunches whatever size that you want. You just wanna make sure that you're consistent as you're harvesting. So got a bunch here. And so what I like to do is I take a harvest knife. You use any real knife. And what I like to do is get a clean cut across the bottom here so that you get a nice finished package here.

[00:30:26] Like this there's a bunch is a little bit small, but again, it depends on what you're trying to sell it for and everything. And then I take a rubber band, wrap it around and there you go. There's your bunch of kale. And the cool thing is. It's all ready to go at this point and you got this nice clean look.

[00:30:46] There looks very professional. Looks nice on a stand, but, uh, yeah, that's how you harvest it. So when we're harvesting them, it's pretty simple. Uh, the other nice thing is, uh, you can thin harvest them, right? So you can take out the bigger ones, leave the smaller ones for succession for next week or the week after.

[00:31:01] So I can usually harvest off of one bed for like a month. Obviously. Depends on what your demands are. So, uh, pull out a bunch. They wanna keep as much of the soil here as, as you can. And then I like to, um, separate them because it's a lot easier to wash them that way. Um, I noticed if I leave it as one clump, they're just impossible to wash.

[00:31:24] So I, we leave the roots on when we sell them. It makes it look cool. And why not? So just gather 'em up and rubber bin, and then we'll go wash these with the other root crops and stuff, but. Bunch of green onions, ready to go here. They smell so good. You've never had fresh green onion. It's like total difference between this and you know what you're used to.

[00:31:54] We went over harvesting, washing and packing. So let's talk about selling. I saw schools leave to chefs, which I've said several times before. And I wanna talk about that process a little bit now. I only harvest once a week. So I harvest on Tuesdays and deliver on Wednesdays. And I figured out Wednesday to be the day from talking to my customers and figuring out what works for them.

[00:32:10] Generally, restaurants are either closed or the chefs are off early in the week, like Sunday, Monday, or Monday, Tuesday, those sorts of things. And they usually gearing up for the weekend. So Wednesday seem to be like the best day for everybody. So that's the day I picked. So over the weekend, Saturday or Sunday I'll text all the chefs.

[00:32:25] That's how they like to be, uh, communicated with is over text. And in the text message, I'll text 'em individually. Don't send a group message. I'll just say anything super brief about what's coming up or what's going on the farm, what to expect usually a sensor or two. And then I'll say gate orders in by Monday delivery on Wednesday.

[00:32:39] And then I just list all the items in their prices. I don't always send the same group of items to all the chefs, because I don't necessarily have enough for everybody for certain things or some crops or. Um, selected for certain restaurants and those, those sorts of things. Generally, they're pretty good about getting back to me if they don't, because chef life is crazy as if you've ever known a chef or worked with them, you know, it can get pretty crazy.

[00:33:00] Just send 'em a friendly reminder on the day that you need the, the order in, and they're usually happy that you reminded them. So if I don't hear from a chef by like mid to late Monday, I'll just say, Hey, just checking in. Do you want anything? And they're usually pretty appreciative of that. Now when I get the orders coming in over text, I just keep a actually written spreadsheet.

[00:33:17] Like I print out a spreadsheet every week and it's just a grid. And I have like the customers and the items I have, and I just keep track that way. It's really easy for me. And then I can total them. You can do this electron electronically somehow, but for me in my scale, It's been fine just because it's such a small amount.

[00:33:31] So after I'm done harvesting on Tuesday, I will go and do my invoicing. So for invoicing, there are lots of ways to do this. There are there's online software you can use. I've just been using square. It's a hundred percent free and I just invoice the customers. Through square after I've done harvesting. I, I wait till I actually finish the harvest because sometimes I don't have exactly what they want, what they order.

[00:33:52] So I har I obviously invoice them for what, what I had available for them and what I harvested, washed, and packed and the finished weights and those sorts of things. And what it does is emails, uh, the invoice them. So they get a copy of it before I even show up the next day. And then I print out two copies and I bring them with me.

[00:34:07] And when I go do my deliveries, I have them sign one and I, and then I keep that and then they keep the other copy, and they write me a check on the spot. Usually that's just how it works. Sometimes I can't find someone, I get it the next week. All my customers have paid me and haven't really been an issue, but I know that can be the issue for some people.

[00:34:22] So if you're not getting paid over and over again, you may not wanna work with them. It may not be worth the headache, but that's just how I do the invoicing. And then I can, I can use that check number and put that in square to double. To, um, to reference that. So I have a record of it and it's pretty simple.

[00:34:35] That's just how I've been doing it. Uh, if you do use electronic payments, like credit card or anything like that, then there will be a charge. For me, I just use checks cuz they're free for me. There's no charge for Square or for them. I mean they have to write the check. A lot of the restaurants that I work with, they have a checkbook around anyways, because they're doing Cod for alcohol deliveries and other kinds of farm sales and stuff like that.

[00:34:55] So usually not a big deal. You just have to explain the process and getting the swing of it. So after you got all that sorted out, I wanna talk about delivering because you, we spend all this time harvesting in the right time of the day, washing, packing, getting in the cooler, all this stuff to help with shelf life.

[00:35:08] But then. We wanna make sure we get it that last couple miles to our customers. So lemme show you that now I definitely use coolers to transport all my products. Uh, I had a minivan for last time. I have a truck now, but either way, these work great. I bought six of these coolers. I bought them at BJ's.

[00:35:22] There's nothing unique about them. Um, but I like to get matching ones. So they'll work well. I like to put ice packs inside the cooler to keep everything nice and cool. These ice packs are incredible. They. Thin and they take up a lot of surface air in the bottom. They'll stay cold for days and they stack really well in the freezer.

[00:35:38] I absolutely love these. I invested in them. They were a little pricey, but I was using like disposable ones and all sorts of stuff that leaked. These have been bombproof. I love these. One thing to point out though, is that when you're putting ice packs in your cooler and you're putting veggies on them, especially greens, if the greens touch it, they'll freeze the greens and then they'll damage them and ruin them.

[00:35:56] I often used to put a towel down over this to keep it separated, but these are so cold that I needed another layer. So what I've been using are these like Daisy trays, which you've probably seen before. I'm sure there are lots of things you could use. Put this over the ice pack. And then I put my towel in here and then I put my bags of greens in here.

[00:36:17] I can put. Uh, like six of those two pound bags in here, sometimes seven. Uh, so we do 12 and 14 pounds of lettuce. I load these up and then I put 'em in the car. They're really easy to move around inside the car. And, uh, this keeps 'em super, super cold. Of course, the greens are all chilled because they're in the fridge overnight �cause I harvest it on Tuesday and this transports them and keeps 'em in great shape.

[00:36:42] If you are not selling to restaurants, let's say you're doing farmer's markets or CSA. There's a couple more things I wanna talk about here. Now, if you're selling to a CSA, I don't have any experience with that, but you want to be thinking more along the lines of how you put your boxes together and how much you can harvest for the week.

[00:36:56] So generally your bunch sizes and stuff will be like how much you harvested that week divided by. The number of boxes that you have, and you'll be figuring out that way. You also think about the refrigeration needs, how you're getting things to the customer. How they like it packaged if they want the greens, if they don't want the greens, you're really there to, you know, on root crops, you're really there to service your customers and get them exactly what they want.

[00:37:13] So you wanna keep that in mind. Now, if you're selling to a farmer's market, you'll really wanna think about the package sizes that you're making, because you don't want to be like making a lot of things, different prices and stuff at the farmer's market, or the size that you choose when your packaging should reflect the prices.

[00:37:27] So you'll have to put a lot of thought into that and think about when you're bagging greens or bunching root vegetables. Picking the sizes, depending on how you're gonna sell them. One model that works really well for a lot of farmers is like selling one item for $3, two items for $5. It makes the transactions really, really smooth.

[00:37:43] When I went to visit Jesse last year, I did a great video with him about selling a farmer's market. I'll leave that link down below so you guys can check that out. It was a lot of great tips in there,

[00:37:55] and this is the last module of the course. So I just wanna wrap this up and keep it short. Thank you so much for all the support. Huge, thanks to Diego and paper pot for making this entire course possible. This is really something I've wanna do for a long time. And what's held me back, is having the need to charge for it and they've made it possible.

[00:38:09] So I don't have to charge for it. These videos will stay up on YouTube and definitely so go back and watch any of them refer to them. And, uh, hopefully this has been helpful. If you're looking to grow more food in your backyard, looking to get into farming, or maybe increase a lot of the efficiencies.

[00:38:23] Remember you don't need a lot of land to start a. My whole farm. I'm on a two acre lot, which most of it's wooded and my entire farm's on an eighth of an acre. So if you don't have access to a lot of land, don't make that excuse. You can definitely get into growing food. Hope you enjoyed this. And I, as I said, really appreciate your time.

[00:38:40] Thank you so much for watching

[00:38:43] Diego Footer: there. You have it module in 19 of the Satton hill farm course. I hope you enjoyed. I would love to know what you thought about the course. We've put a lot of time and effort into making all 19 modules available as a podcast and on YouTube. If they've been beneficial, do me a favor, send me an email.

[00:39:06] Hello? At paper I would love to know what you thought. Did you enjoy it? What parts were the best? Would you like more content like this in the future? If so, what would it look like? And is there stuff we need to go more in depth on, please share your thoughts. Hello. At paper As we wrap up the course here.

[00:39:28] Unless we add a future module, you can view all of our written references related to the whole course at paper, I don't think a lot of people know this, but there's 19 PDFs up there summarizing each of the modules. So if you download, 'em all you have yourself. A nice little start farming book on your hands.

[00:39:50] All for free, no email, no paywall, nothing required. A hundred percent free to. So check that slash Josh. Stay tuned ahead. In the next few weeks, new episodes of farm small farm smart will be available right here. Same time, same channel. So watch for those in the future until then. Thanks for listening.

[00:40:13] Be nice. Be thankful and do the work.


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