We harvested and washed our Echinacea Roots recently at Oshala Farm. Echinacea root has to grow for two years before it is ready to harvest. That means a lot of energy put in watering and cultivating and a lot of time for gophers to find choice roots. Two years of inputs before the big pay-off.
Monday was the big day and we were all so excited to harvest this beautiful root. After mowing the plants to the ground Jeff went through with the new root lifter on the back of the tractor and the roots came up like a dream. Now to collect and clean them.
Echinacea has a combination root type. It has big tap roots, and fibrous roots that can often be very fine. We didn’t want to lose any of these roots. This turned into a time consuming two step cleaning process that took most of the day to refine. By the end of the day we were all soaking wet, covered in mud and far from finished with the harvest.
The next morning at 6:00 AM we were still cutting crowns open and putting roots through the barrel root washer under the harvest moon. My body was tired from racing to pull root crowns out from the path of the tractor and from working until the light began to fade the night before. As the clouds lit up with brightest fuchsia in the East, and to hues of pearly purple to the West, I thought of a friend who does outdoor adventure sports and told me about Type II fun.
Type II fun is the kind of fun that happens while you are pushing your body to its limits, feeling afraid, and probably uncomfortable. It comes from adrenaline, camaraderie, and making things happen that at first seem impossible.
Farming is a Type II fun and this Echinacea harvest and cleaning was a particularly heightened moment of that. We got our roots cleaned, our fresh orders sent out, and our roots dried. To do that we worked long hours and had many frustrating moments but during that process we laughed more and felt closer than usual. The beauty of the world stood out more clearly and we felt proud to be a team at Oshala Farm.
Have any of you had a recent root harvest? What is your favorite Type II farming fun? Let us know in the comments below!
Happy Harvest Season,
Elana Quinlan Scheidegger
Seeds, Nursery, Fresh Orders