Uphill, Both Ways

In the "old days" we would be in full swing harvesting carrots on our vegetable farm. We began our journey with carrots – as most market gardeners do – by digging them out of ground with a fork and then tying them into bunches with burlap twine. We cut the burlap twine into foot long pieces and then shoved a handful through a belt loop in our jeans so that the strings were readily available and easy to access. The number and size of carrots per bunch relied on a good judgment to ensure that the bunches were relatively uniform.

Bunching carrots in the field was a tedious, labour intensive job that we all dreaded, and after many years, and thousands of bunches, we invested in a carrot harvester and packaging facility. While I was lucky to bunch a wheelbarrow full of carrots in a hour, our new two-row carrot harvester could dig, top, and dump 5 tons of carrots into our tractor-pulled-wagon every 30 minutes! The only downside to mechanically harvested carrots was that they didn’t look quite as attractive as bunched carrots. But none of us carrot bunchers were complaining!

Today, the vast fields of carrots and equipment are long gone. Now I grow carrots in a raised bed in my yard that is a couple of metres long and a metre wide. My kids pull the carrots straight out of the ground, shake-off a little bit of the potting soil that clings to the roots, give them a quick rinse, and eat! 

When I tell them that when I was their age I spent my summers bunching endless fields of carrots, they always respond with, "And how far did you walk to school?"

Aah, I get no respect.

~Jim Hole