Poughkeepsie sustainable farmers race against heat to protect themselves, crops

The Poughkeepsie Farm Project also provides numerous agriculture education programs and produce-delivery services for some of their more vulnerable shareholders.

Ben Nandy

Jun 18, 2024, 9:55 PM

Updated 26 days ago

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Some local farmers are trying to keep up with their harvest schedule, despite some risk to themselves and their produce.
The team at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project – a 12-acre sustainable farm on the edge of the city – still had to fill a wholesale order Tuesday morning and build their supply for shareholders in their community supported agriculture program (CSA).
PFP wholesale director Justin Saret said much of the staff arrived early Tuesday morning – at about 6 a.m. – to harvest leafy greens including lettuce, kale and spinach.
He said the crops can also become vulnerable because "the harvest takes some time, and we have to get the greens out of the heat because they don't like the heat either."
After harvesting, the team spent the hottest part of the day under tents, and would hold staff meetings in a storage cooler where the temperature is about 50 degrees.
"There are usually things that need to be fixed and adjusted in the cooler from time to time," Saret said, taking a moment in the walk-in cooler. "We all try to rotate duties like this so that you get a chance to cool off and take a breather."
"We just got out of the field as fast as we could," PFP farm director Emily Eder said, as she seeded fall crops at a tent-shaded table.
She said the team can certainly afford to take extra breaks or rearrange schedules to do more stationary work, but they cannot afford to simply hold off on hard work.
They could lose time and lose crops.
And they do not like to waste anything here.
"You have to deal with the elements. We all know that when we sign up for this. It's just a matter of looking out for each other and taking care of ourselves," said Emily Eder, of PFP.
The Poughkeepsie Farm Project also provides numerous agriculture education programs and produce-delivery services for some of their more vulnerable shareholders.
All the PFP's programs this week are scheduled as usual, for now, despite the heat.


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