Take This Job and Love it: Strawberries
The fields are ripe for the picking at Tate’s Strawberry Farm in Corinth.There are five varieties of strawberries, and Chelsey Anderson helped plant some of those in the spring.Chelsey- With all the rain we had this spring there wasn’t a sunny day to waste in May, so owner, Albert Tate got me going on the tractor. Albert- “That’s my pride and joy.”Albert- I’ll show you how to get it going.Albert- Push your foot in on the clutch and turn the key on. We’ll put this in fourth and put this in gear. Okay, and we let off the clutch and give it your gas pedal.Albert- Just let her out. Chelsey- Whoa! Whoa! Giver the gas. Oh my gosh! And I’m just going to follow the line? Albert- Follow the line. Giver the gas. Chelsey- Is that the right speed? Albert- Little bit faster.Chelsey- Can you do anything wrong here? Albert- Not really. Chelsey- Am I following at all? Albert- Yes you’re doing great.Now that the field was tilled it was time to gather all the planters together. It would take four of us just to plant, one to drive, and one to make sure the plants are covered. Thank goodness Tate’s Strawberry Farm is a family affair.Albert- That’s going to be 5th generation.Chelsey- I think he’s a better driver than I am.Albert- Here’s our planter.Albert- Alright these are our plants. Ok. There’s 25 plants to a bundle and what we’ll do is we’ll put that plant in the planter then we’ll get another plant and put that in the planter. These are the roots, you need to have the plant that far. We can’t have it in the ground too deep because it will smother it and if it’s out it will dry out and die. So it has to be ground level. 55-thousand plants go in the ground each spring.Albert- This is the red tab. This will be where the plant goes.Albert- You put your thumb on the base of the plant. Yep and then you want to put it right on the red tab. This will go through. Ok. You got the next red tab. Ok. That’s yours. Like that. Chelsey- Oh dear. Albert- Then I’ve got the next one. Now it’s yours.Albert- Sometimes the ground will have a little dip or a little ridge so the plant doesn’t get fully in the ground. We have somebody who walks behind just to check the depth.Chelsey- I missed one.Bev- Whoops you skipped one. I did.Albert- It happens. We get 10-12 plants on each row that need to be adjusted. But I wasn’t just skipping, I was adding.Chelsey- Well, see I planted 2 there since I missed one before. I’m just making up for it. Albert- You come next summer and you’ll see a nice wide row there.Chelsey- This is the slow gear and it was just too fast for me. Albert-This is a slow gear, but that’s fine.Albert- The hard part is when you skip over to get another bundle of 25. Chelsey- Oh dear. It gets harder. Albert-Yep.And Albert didn’t speak a moment too soon.Chelsey- Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Oh dear. Good thing I have Albert. Bev- You must be changing hands. Chelsey- I was attempting too.But I got a little better with time, and when you’re planting 35-hundred plants per hour you don’t have a second to waste.Albert- Little more gas. She’s a veteran now (laughter)After the tractor driving and all the planting would I be hired?Albert- You would most definitely be hired. Good news! Thank you.Chelsey- The berries I planted still have a long way to go. After some growing the hand hoe will be used, then the Tate’s will go pick the blossoms off, and check for bugs and diseases, and then in November they’ll be covered with hay to prevent winter kill. But If you go out to pick your own strawberries next year, you’ll be picking the one’s I planted.