harvesting and storage

 Now that all the necessary steps were put in place to grow the vegetables, it is time to reap the "fruits" of its work ... All kidding aside, the harvest is unquestionably moment, because all the effort invested and attention to detail turns into a tangible result, in a final product. For my part, nothing equals pride in a successful culture.

That said, harvesting is a part of the trade which requires certain know-how because the freshness and the conservation of vegetables are directly there linked. To ensure the quality of production, garden to the plate, there are some basic principles to consider when harvesting.

First of all, it is important to collect the vegetables at the right time of their growth, then that they mature. Harvested too hastily, the vegetables will have much less flavor.

Harvested too late, they will not store well. For many cultures, this is apparent or not. an important consequence, but for others, the time of picking makes a huge difference. Judging the maturity of a cantaloupe, for example, is far from obvious, but it makes all the difference when it comes to taste. For each vegetable, some signs testify to their stage of maturity and you have to learn to recognize them. As these signs are specific to each culture, I will deal with the subject in the cultural notes in the appendix. Anyway, the best time to harvest a vegetable is not necessarily synchronized with the needs of the sale and this is why the use of a room cold (we use the term fridge) is essential. With a fridge, vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, and cucumbers, to name a few, can be harvested on their own. optimum and stored a few days before being sold.

The other important point to remember is that once harvested, the vegetables continue to "live", and

that if their breathing is not quickly stopped by the cold, they will lose not only their appearance of freshness but also a great Prussia of their nutritional value. It is therefore important to collect before the heat of the day sets in, to know as early as possible in the morning, and quickly cool the vegetables that come out of the garden with water cold and/or cold air from the fridge.

On our farm, vegetables are never stored for a long time, since the harvest is always the day before delivery. Our warehouse is a cool place that keeps a temperature of about 15 ° C, which is adequate for several vegetables. For those that need to be refrigerated, we set our fridge at a temperature of 2 to 4 ° C. In a way general, the harvesting procedure is relatively similar for all crops and is divided into three stages: picking in the garden, storage temporary and washing, and, finally, refrigeration. However, some vegetables require more special attention.

LEAF VEGETABLES AND LETTUCE are always the first to be harvested and they are quickly transported to the warehouse. The crates of crops are then sprayed with cold water to keep fresh greens before washing, which is done later in the day. In washing, damaged leaves are removed. The vegetable is then dipped in a cold water bath for a few seconds, then it is drained, before placing delicately in a bin stored in the fridge.

ROOT VEGETABLES SOLD IN BOOTS are sorted and bundled in the garden or, when the weather is hot, taken in bulk to the warehouse to be handled in a cool place. When bundling, the leaves and damaged roots are removed and the packages calibrated to be uniform from one boot to another. The number of desired packages is counted, calculating first the number of rubber bands that should be used (for example, 40 rubber bands for 40 boots). In waiting for their turn to wash, the crates of harvest are sprayed with cold water to ensure that I foliage keeps a beautiful appearance. In the wash, the roots boots are cleaned from their land with the spray water from a sprinkler gun. The boots are then staggered in trays, taking care not to overload them, then put in the fridge.

BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWERS will remain firm longer if they are quickly cooled when harvested. Upon arrival at the warehouse, they are soaked in a cold water bath, then drained and immediately put back in the fridge. As the harvests of broccoli and cauliflower are when they reach maturity (and not when it is harvest day), it is important to identify the harvest date on each bin, so make sure to use the first ones as a priority crop at the time of distribution.

BEANS AND PEAS do not need to be cleaned, but, when harvested in the middle of the day, they benefit from being sprinkled with fresh water before being stored in the fridge. In this case, it must ensure that the container allows to drain well ! 'water to avoid rust problems, especially on beans.

CUCUMBERS will be crisper if they are cooled quickly after harvest. Once brought back from the tunnels, they are immediately soaked in a cold water bath, drained, and stored in the fridge in a container identified on the date of harvest.

TOMATOES can be harvested at any time of day, but since their conservation depends greatly on the fact that they are not damaged, they must always be picked with great care. To avoid handling them twice, the tomatoes are harvested and stored in the same cases, left at room temperature from the warehouse.

THE MESCLUN is often harvested on a different day than that of large harvests, so that pick up in the early hours of the day (it is sometimes very long ...). Once harvested, the greens are immersed in a bath of cold water then mixed delicately to amalgamate the sheets of different sizes and colors. In the bath, sorting is carried out to remove damaged leaves, weeds, and insects. The mesclun is then wrung out well (otherwise it may rot) in an electric wringer, then gently placed in closed plastic bags and put in the fridge.

MELONS, like tomatoes, can also be harvested at any time of the year. day. They are generally not refrigerated but rather left to mature at temperature warehouse environment. If by mistake, they are harvested a little too ripe, they will then be put in the fridge, although this somewhat diminishes their flavor.

BASIL can be harvested at any time of day, but it should never be Picked wet, nor kept in a closed bag, as humidity causes the leaves to blacken. The basil is stored in the fridge in a half-open container to avoid condensation.

ZUCCHINI is harvested every two or three days while the fruit is still small. They are not cleaned but cooled in the fridge in bins identifying the day they were picked.

ONIONS can be harvested at any time what time of day and often will be when I big the harvest is already done. They are bundled in the garden then washed of their soil with the spray guns before being stored in the fridge.