A November Thursday in the Life of Ripple Farm Organics
A Day in the Life of - Written for the Wye Parish Magazine, Nov 2014 Our working day starts at 8am (7am in the summer); Thursday is usually our busiest day, and there are 11 of us today, most working a full day. Quite a few of us cycle in from Wye, then its waterproofs on, as, although it’s not raining now, the crops will be very wet from the overnight rain. Today we are harvesting for Friday’s early morning deliveries to wholefood and organic shops in central London. Most of the orders are in already by e-mail or text, but Martin still has a few to chase up (the ones that like to hear his lovely Irish accent!). The vans are loaded up with empty crates and scales and the salad gang and the greens gang go off to harvest. Meanwhile, Roz is loading up another van with veggie boxes that were packed yesterday. We have about 150 veggie boxes to deliver around East Kent today, as well as orders for Wye Butchers, Canterbury Wholefoods , Chapmans Fish restaurant and a few nets of spaghetti squash for the newly opened ‘Fairshare’, depot in Ashford. About 20 of our veggie boxes (bags) are dropped off with ‘Velocity’ cycle couriers, Andrew and Isabelle, who deliver them around Canterbury by bike and trailer. Out in the fields the vans are filling up with almost 200kg of different kales, 100 kg of spinach and chard, as well as parsley, salad leaves, leeks, cabbages and more, all harvested fresh to order. We’re finished harvesting by 11.30 and its time for break (its hungry work, and breakfast seems a long time ago!). The usual workplace ‘whats in your lunch box’ conversations take place, and the ‘boys’ sometime have a quick game of footie before going back to work. We’re in the packing shed for the rest of the day now, weighing, packing and bunching all the fresh veggies that we harvested this morning as well as some stored veggies, such as potatoes and squash. It’s too wet and we’re too busy for Rachel to do any tractor driving jobs today, so she’s packing too. The shed is filled with either cheesy 80s music, classical, Johnny Cash (great packing sounds) or ‘shouty’ music, depending on who put the radio on, as well as plenty of ‘banter’, there’s usually mention of Man U at some point. A few customers come along through to afternoon to collect their veggie boxes and say hello. Roz returns from her drive around Ashford, Hythe, Saltwood, Folkestone, Lyminge, Bridge, Canterbury and Chartham, and the van is reloaded with veggie boxes for Wye, Brook and Hastingleigh. Kyle goes off delivering now, collecting Thursday’s goodies of fresh bread and cakes from Wye Bakery when he delivers their veggies (yum, yum!). Sarah sneaks off early, delivering veggie boxes to the ‘other side of the tracks’ on her way home (Boughton Aluph, Harville Rd and Bramble Lane). Then a quick afternoon break for the rest to eat cake and fruit, enough sustenance to get the packing finished, the invoices written, the London van loaded and the shed swept by home-time at 4.45. Rachel leaves with the last of the veggie boxes for the evening delivery into Canterbury, Whitstable and Faversham, and Martin is free to go off and ‘do some farming’! Either that or he finishes off the cakes and has a quick rest, curled up in a corner listening to RTE (Irish radio station)!!