08 Sep A Look At How Fruits and Vegetables Are Harvested
This post and the farm tour were sponsored by Markon and The Alliance for Food and Farming. However, my opinions are entirely my own.
With the popularity of farm-to-table, I wanted to get a ringside view of how food is grown, picked, and shipped to your market. I make it a point to take time from my busy work schedule to go on farm tours, so when The Alliance for Food and Farming invited me to see numerous fruit and vegetable farms in Salinas Valley, I was very excited.
As you can see from the picture below, Salinas Valley is nicknames “the salad bowl” because it is the perfect environment to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. In two days, I was able to see how lettuce, celery, artichokes, strawberries, and broccoli were harvested.
Harvesting the Crops
Each crop is harvested a little differently. I was amazed by how quickly the produce is picked, either by machine or by hand. Below you will find a short video of each of the foods being harvested or picked in the fields.
The lettuce in this farm is hand-picked and then placed onto a machine where it is packed. This large machine slowly goes with the pickers through the field so the lettuce and be packaged immediately.
On the day I saw celery being harvested my new cookbook The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook also launched. In the video below, I discuss my new cookbook and you can see how the celery is being hand-picked behind me and then immediately boxed to be sent out to markets.
It amazed me how quickly the celery was placed in boxes…
Artichokes grow at the top of the plant and sharp knives are used by pickers to cut the artichoke from the plant, and then toss it into a backpack until it’s filled. The backpack holds up to 80 pounds. My dietitian pal Manuel Villacorta tried on the backpack while I filmed him. Manuel works out regularly and is extremely fit- even he had a tough time carrying the 80 pounds for more than a minute as you can see from the amazing video below which I shot.
Strawberries are also hand-picked and put into clam shells (those plastic containers you find at your local market). To get from the Salinas Valley to New York, it takes 3 days! That is how quick you get your food from the farm to your table.
It’s amazing the amount of work that goes into growing, picking, and shipping food to your table yet it is done with such ease. This farm tour also reinforced the fact that farmers’ use pest control management, which is a combo of non-chemical and chemical methods to control pests. With the cost of chemicals being very pricey, farmers try to use as little as possible and when they do use chemicals, it is very highly regulated. Our fruits and vegetables are safe and have very little to no residue in them. Based on scientific studies and testing, The Alliance for Food and Farming developed
this handy residue calculator which shows us that you would need to eat hundreds to thousands of servings of fruit or vegetable to get to any sort of dangerous limit. Most Americans have a tough time meeting the single digit recommendations put forth by the dietary guidelines. You can give the
residue calculator a whirl to check the residue in your favorite fruits and veggies.