Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Carrots :: From Field to Table

There is a lot of work that brings carrots to the point of being harvested, but today we'll look at harvest and post-harvest handling or getting those big, crunchy sweet carrots from field to table.

Sometimes harvesting carrots is a muddy job! Using a broadfork, or digging fork, we loosen the carrots in the soil profile, then pull them out, removing large dirt clods at this time. Transporting by crates and wheelbarrow to the washing table.

Carrots, fresh out of the ground.
The dirty roots head into buckets of water for a little presoak to loosen the dirt.

After the presoak the tops get trimmed and roots laid out for spraying.

The roots are then sprayed to remove the rest of the dirt.

Then the roots are put into a tank of cool water. This is the hydrocooling part of the process, where we remove any remaining field heat and cool the carrots down to the core. This helps preserve the quality of the carrots, as well as preserve and extend storage life. We use an organic sanitizer in the water tank to sanitize the carrots as well.

Carrots come out and are weighed and bunched. Harvest weights are recorded to evaluate planting methods and carrot varieties. We remove tops, as the greens can take moisture from the roots, depleting their storage life.

Bunched carrots.
Now the carrots are ready for CSA boxes and market display!

Carrots at market.
Carrots are a very hands on crop, from seed, to harvest, but they are one of my favorite crops to grow.

Farmer Brooke and a bunch of carrots.

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