Lettuce Farming - Thursdays

Pinjarra Travel Blog

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Thursdays are one of our big days; what I call the "Pick 'n' Pack. We cut, pack & deliver to the local shops & cafes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, and it's all hands on deck to get it done & out the door to the waiting customers. I have managed to avoid the actual lettuce picking & cutting in favour of bagging the lettuces in their respective mixtures & weights. By the time I roll up to the shed there is a crate or two of ready lettuces to core or bag, and I greet this mind-numbing but rhythmic work with gusto. Marg runs the Pack with me & 'Weird Wayne', a good-hearted but mentally deficient boy who has studied hydroponics & likes to lend a hand, while David & Jeff walk the tables & cut the biggest & best for sale. This means the shed is a hub-bub of activity compared to the usually, quiet peaceful farm & I enjoy the change in atmosphere. First we pack the kilos for the cafes & restaurants; kilos of green, kilos of red & green, kilos of endive mix (I hate endive so it's beyond me why anyone would want this!) & kilos of "fancy mix", red & green mixed with herb. Arguments abound about whether old weight scales are superior to electric scales, and consequently we bag 5gm more lettuce than we need to, just to be on the safe side, should the Lettuce Police come around. Woe betold anyone caught selling underweight bags, though over-weight (so to speak) is allowable. In practice this means being petty over one leaf of lettuce, but primary producers know that the regulations & penalties for growers are stringent. After the kilos are completed we bag up the remaining red 'n' green & fancy mix into yellow or blue tag bags for the supermarkets, and we may do over 100 of these, gently forcing the over-exuberant leaves into their transparant sleeves trying to minimise breakage so the lettuce looks as fresh as the hour it was picked. Dolly sends us down trays of tea & toast as we work, and we give in to the entreating eyes of Meg, our adopted dog who begs for bits of bread & jam whilst steadfastly refusing to give in to Flight the equally imploring horse as he inches closer & closer to our waiting lettuce & who eventually has to be barriered off with empty crates or lured away with the promise leftover Cos stalks (his favourite).

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photo by: fyrefly