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New Tools

June 27, 2012

One of my new tools: harvest bins

I like a good tool, especially one that can help me get a job done more quickly, efficiently and effectively. Two weeks ago, I bought a couple new tools that fall into the good tool category. As a bonus, they made me feel like a real farmer; one of them, especially.

The Tor Rey scale can weigh from 0.01 to 40 pounds

The first tool I purchased was a Tor Rey scale. I had been wanting to buy a scale for a long time and when I got the name of the local company (A-1 Scales & ABM Equipment Company) that sells them to many of the area farmers, I jumped on it. I had been using a kitchen scale to weigh produce, but a kitchen scale is not legal for trade. My new scale is. (Just so you know, in a comparison to the new scale, the kitchen scale was accurate.) All I have to do is send $39.00 to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, along with an application and I am legal. (I just got the application paperwork yesterday; I’ll mail the check today.) That yearly fee, along with a yearly inspection to make sure the scale is accurate, will keep me on track. I don’t have to use a scale to sell produce. I can sell produce by the bunch or individual piece, as I do with some items. But, even when I do that, I like to weigh out some bunches to keep them more uniform. Selling by weight, though, sometimes just makes more sense to me. When there can be a lot of variation in the size of an item, like some winter squash that can range anywhere from 5 to 20 pounds, selling by the pound does make sense. I am not sure that this scale makes preparing produce for sale happen any faster, but it is efficient and effective (and legal) for the job.

Two styles of bins: solid bottom and slotted bottom

My other new tool is the one that made me feel more like a real farmer. I bought 40 new harvest bins, just like the ones that real farms use. Harvest bins may not seem like much of a tool, but having something  big enough to hold a good amount of produce is definitely quicker, more efficient and more effective. Before these came, I was using two bins that were a little more than half the size of the new ones. I could fit 3-6 heads of lettuce in a bin. Now, I can fit 10-12 heads. When I need 20 heads of lettuce to fill the days orders, that makes a difference. It is nice to have so many available to use, too. I can fill as many bins as I want, without having to empty any out or rewash them.

Sometimes one new tool leads to another. The harvest bins got me thinking about the next new tool I might need: a flat bed utility cart. It would be nice to carry more than one bin at a time from the garden to the washing/packing area. I have an idea where I can get one…


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