Harvesting in the wet

joeyvegiesFebruary 18, 2014

Just wondering what tricks you guys have for dealing with rainy harvest days. Obviously leafy greens love it but I am spending a lot of time toweling zucchini dry and trying to stop my okra rotting.

How do you deal with wet produce when you have to harvest and pack on a rainy day?

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myfamilysfarm

I never did. By picking in the wet, you are taking the chance of spreading any bacteria or disease from one spot to another easier.

I always tried to pick according to the weather and explained it to my customers. The more the customers know what we deal with, the better for us.

This post was edited by myfamilysfarm on Tue, Feb 18, 14 at 12:21

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 12:19PM
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randy41_1

when i wash squash i let it air dry a little then put it in a tomato box in the cooler.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 12:19PM
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joeyvegies

Thanks Randy, i have been trying air drying on racks - very slow but it does seem to work.

And myff - I know that handling plants in the wet is not great for them, but for me if it rains 3 days in a row it's either a matter of picking those squash or having them become huge energy guzzling unsaleable monsters. Likewise if tomatoes remain unpicked they split and spoil.

Also as I am selling to wholesale customers as well as my CSA-style customers it's not a good idea for me to just show up without those crops week after week.

I know farmers work in some very rainy regions so I figure there must be some workarounds.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 4:05PM
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myfamilysfarm

I let some of the zukes grow larger, I didn't expect them to sell until I accidentally had 1-2, and I took them with me. they sold first. I found out that people prefer them for breads, they are less moist and they only have to peel and seed 1 instead of several for their recipes. After that, I started bringing a dozen or so at a time.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 7:14PM
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joeyvegies

Large zukes don't sell well here, I always try to harvest mine before seeds have formed.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 8:49PM
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myfamilysfarm

they are almost too little, if no seeds. My most selling size is 6-7" long, then 8--9", nobody wants the 3-5" sizes.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 10:11PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

It rains a lot here and my harvest just happens on schedule regardless of the weather.
Most produce is just fine with some moisture, especially if it's going to be sold and eaten right away. Anything that needs to be dried goes on a screen or rack with a fan on it for a little while. The fridge will also pull a bunch of moisture from a box if left open.
-Mark

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:18AM
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joeyvegies

Thanks Mark, I was hoping someone from a nice green rainy area would chip in.

The fan is a good idea. Much as my lettuce looks great on a wet harvest day I feel sure that packing wet beans or tomatoes is just a recipe for a box of mould.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:48AM
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brookw_gw

I'm with Marla. It's not that the produce is hurt by the rain, but it sure can spread disease to the plants. My bigger issue is the damage to the fields when I try to harvest on saturated soil. Still, sometimes there's no other choice but to harvest when you can. Personally, I greatly prefer small zukes, but larger ones always sell better for me. Maybe it's a Midwestern thing--like only eating gooseberries green.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 2:11PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

when I have to pick on a rainy day, I put things out in flats on wire rack shelves in the garage and let them dry, with fans. this works good for zucchini, tomatoes, etc. Never pick green beans on a wet day, even if it means you lose them, because from my experience, you lose them anyway if packed damp. If you only have a bushel or two, I've spread them out on bed sheets in a thin layer in the living room and run the ceiling fan on them till they were dry though!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 6:00PM
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