One thing that is important on the farm is transportation – in the form of our farm trucks. From depositing coolers in the proper fields for the next day’s harvest to delivering restaurant orders to dumping compost in the compost pile at the end of the harvest day, these vehicles are crucial to maintaining working order on and off the farm. The big white beast you see at the CSA pickups is our market truck. This truck, an old ’83 GMC, weighing in at over 23,000 pounds and about 25 feet long, can hold close to 75 of the large white coolers and is responsible for carrying the contents of our CSA shares to our pickups 3 days a week and all the produce to the market on Saturdays. I, being a vintage one year older, but of a much smaller stature, am responsible for driving her to and from the pickups with all the freshly harvested veggies.
Learning to drive such a large old vehicle was a daunting task, but I have grown to like the tri-weekly event. Before each outing, I go through a check list. First, check the headlights and turn signals, among a few other items, to assure all are in working order. Check the oil and fuel level and fill if needed.
Though old and sometimes temperamental, there is a finesse in driving this large truck. Getting her to start may require pulling out the choke, give her two pumps from the gas pedal, but not much more or risk flooding the engine (which I am guilty of on occasion). From inside the cab, when the truck turns over, I think it sounds much larger and meaner than from the outside. As I drive, I am aware of every sound, especially if there is a new one, and I constantly check my periphery in the mirrors. When I shift, I listen to the engine and watch the RPMs to be sure I don’t shift too late and push the engine too hard. This year, with a new clutch, shifting is much easier and doesn’t require me putting my whole body weight behind my foot.
There is always a little bit of relief when I pull into the pickup sites. The target time to arrive is around 3pm, which gives us about an hour to unload the contents of the truck. Set up of the tents and tables. Weigh the greens, like lettuce, arugula and sorrel and get ready for the 4pm pick up time. We’ll see you this week!