This is an excerpt from Nancy's Newsletter dated Sunday, March 5, 2017.
I have never actually explained what we do here to put your boxes together. Much of it has evolved over the years-it has improved and, at the same time, become much more complicated. So, this is going to be a "flow chart" in words.
The day before the boxes are going out, Donna starts by printing the labels. She then writes all the "extras" which have been ordered onto sticky notes and sticks them on the appropriate label. She also makes a big list of all the extras ordered for the day. Some crops are harvested the day before-especially those which take a lot of time to pick and wash, such as root crops. Crops such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, and squashes are picked when they are ready to be picked, and stored at the proper temperatures. Late in the afternoons, Santa and Angelica may start cutting some lettuce for the early boxes. Unless we are expecting bad weather in the morning and/or there are a lot of extras orders, we usually leave most of the greens for cutting in the morning. That situation of having a lot of extras is happening more and more (thanks again!).
The boxes are made the day ahead of time. I get in about 6:30 and line them up on the tables by delivery route and for farm pick up-early or late. While I am doing that, Miguel shows up and puts the labels on the boxes. Then, working from the master list of this weeks box contents, he and Chago begin to put this week's items into the boxes. The plan is to put the heaviest items in first and leave the most delicate items for the top of the box.
Like worker ants spreading out from an anthill, golf carts skitter different directions as 4 or 5 of us head to different parts of the farm to pick what is needed for the boxes and the extras. Santa and Angelica usually have all their mornings taken up cutting and washing greens for the boxes, and then those for any restaurant or green market orders, as well as picking squash blossoms. Miguel and Luis may be weighing out bags of beans or beets or going to the field for extras. Abelino is constantly driving back and forth from the field, bringing a load of Brussels sprouts, large bags of kale and chard, or other things from the list Donna made. Chago is weighing bags of tomatoes for the boxes and helping to put things into the boxes. Someone also needs to pick or bag cherry tomatoes or beans.
As we begin to fill the boxes, Donna is in the office, listening to your messages, writing notes with additional extras, and changing labels if someone has notified her that they need to cancel their box or pick it up at a different time. In the packinghouse she checks each box to see that everything is in them, and that we have not included something that is on that person's "exclude" list. Then she adds the extra orders that we have brought in from the field and arranges everything so the tomatoes or beets aren't squashing the lettuce.
Two delivery people-going different directions-leave here between 8:30 and 9:30 on each of the 4 days we make boxes. Then we try to get the early group of pick-up boxes out around 9:30 (after our well-deserved 9 AM breakfast break.) After that, we finish up the pick-up boxes for later in the day and then start filling restaurant orders. That's how it all works-as smoothly as the proverbial "well oiled machine"! (I wish...)