Local farm needs harvest of volunteers - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local farm needs harvest of volunteers

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)--Wednesday is a busy day at Crabtree Farms in Chattanooga, but assistant farm manager Jennie Bartoletti and her staff have had it a bit easier overall this month of June, sort of. Recent rains have washed away at least one of their chores.

"We don't have to worry about watering at all," said Bartoletti. That has helped lower their power bill since the well pump isn't needed.

"We're not having to run that electricity," explained Bartoletti. "We're not having to worry about it."

However, the recent wet weather has caused several of their crops to grow to nearly double their normal yield. Bartoletti said 500 pounds of tomatoes were picked Monday and she expected to harvest the same amount today.

"We have a lot of stuff ready right now," said Bartoletti.

Add an extra abundance of squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and beans to the list and you add the need for volunteers. Crabtree put out the call for extra hands to pick, wash, and box produce to be sold at the Chattanooga Market and to 35 members of its CSA program every week.

Chuck Newell and his daughter Zoe spent part of their day picking and preparing a few items.

"I figured it would be a good opportunity to come out here and just work on a farm for a little bit," said Newell. He also hoped it would be a good learning experience for nine year old Zoe.

"That it is hard work, but it's also very rewarding," said Newell. "It can be fun."

Zoe didn't mind getting her hands dirty, realizing her efforts would help put food on someone's table.

"I liked being able to pick all the food and being able to wash it all off, and knowing that someone's going to eat it," said Zoe.

As far as Bartoletti's concerned it is a win-win situation, exchanging help for education. She gets help harvesting the produce while the volunteers harvest knowledge about where their food comes from, how it is grown, and what it looks like before it goes to market..

"I like being able to teach that to people as they're helping me," said Bartoletti.

According to Bartoletti, Crabtree Farms takes volunteers any day of the week. However, the highest need is on Wednesdays and Fridays, especially for the next two weeks. If you are interested in volunteering, call 423-493-9155, ext. 19, or visit the farm at 1000 E. 30th Street in Chattanooga at 9 a.m.

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