These 8 and 9th weeks of the 2015 CSA season means summer will be winding down and we are starting to move into the sweet corn, tomatoes, onions, squashes and more.
Kraig and I harvested sweet corn Fri after 5 in the hot humid weather as we were not sure we would be able to do it on Sat or Sun because of the chances of rain showers. So we teamed up together and I agreed to share my experience of harvesting corn. Kraig is the DKHF guy(Double K Hobby Farm)who does the heavy picking, (like digging potatoes with a shovel). I have a whole new appreciation of his job at the farm and all those young teens working in corn fields detassling in the summer months.
As you all know, cornstalks are usually taller than you and they are planted closely in rows together. To see the field driving by and actually standing in the field, it is a completely different feeling. The cornstalks can create a claustrophobic feeling especially when the wind is not moving. So as I start out, I am refreshed and excited just looking at all those cobs of corn. I proudly position my bushel basket on my shoulders and march down the row to my spot and set it gently at the base of the stalks. My 360 view is that of all cornstalks unless I look up to that beautiful blue sky with a hot blazing sun scorching my skin. My adrenaline is high and I am ready to fill for the DKHF families. Time to work.
If you have not picked a cob from a stalk, there is a skill set to it. It takes a couple of runs to get the hang of picking it quickly and effectively. Grab ahold of the cob, snap it down, twist off, and place in the basket. The first 3 dozen or so that I pick is probably emotionally equivalent to a child gathering candy at a parade. Excitement and the need for more and to get it quicker than the girl or boy next to you right? Well, eventually, (maybe in 15 min) our bodies are pure sweat and I know my heart is pounding fiercely (I am not going to admit that to my working partner though) and I have to slow down before I keel over. I am thinking that to do this at this time of day is crazy. Maybe I should have waited till 5:30 am. Naw, the cornstalks would be wet, it has been foggy and my fear of running into raccoons, deer, skunk, and yes, even a silly old bullfrog makes me jump out of my skin. I must persevere. I have a service to perform and must get those baskets filled.
As I make progress filling the basket, I found that I would have to walk back and forth in my row because I can no longer carry this heavy basket above my head or even at waist level now. Hmm… When I did have the picked bundles of corn stacked in my arms ready for transport, I prayed I wouldn’t lose one out of my arms. I don’t think at this point I could even balance myself to lower to the ground, pick up the cob, and move forward with out the worry of tripping over a fallen stalk. I am a strong independent woman but I had to ask for help. I yelled out over the cornstalks hoping Kraig could hear me because I know he could not see me. It did not take long and he was there to finish up with me. Back in the shade of the garage, we repacked ears of corn into pop crate trays and stacked in the commercial fridge for cooling.
It was a great feeling to push beyond what you think you are capable of doing and to succeed and meet your goal.
We hope you enjoy the sweet corn!