One of the many seed crops we grow on the High Mowing farm is Ruby Streaks Mustard Greens. Ruby Streaks is a beautiful burgundy mustard green that is mildly spicy and adds a splash of zip and color to salads.
This year we started most of our Ruby Streaks in the greenhouse and set them out as transplants in our lower fields, but we did have a large volunteer crop, which we have harvested separately and are monitoring and testing for quality purposes.
After the Ruby Streaks flowered and had gone to seed, we then harvested the plants when the pods had turned brown and the leaves were turning slightly yellow. Once harvested, we dry the plants and pods thoroughly in the sun on large tarps (to protect from dirt and also to collect any seeds that might fall out from the seed pods).
The next step is to separate the seeds from the plant material. We’ve threshed different ways in the past; using our feet to stomp on the pods, or using our threshing machine (which is very noisy and dangerous), but this year, going on the example we’d seen at another seed growers’ farm, we threshed the plants by running them over with a truck while they were wrapped up in a tarp. Then we used sticks to beat them and worked on rolling the stalks to free the seeds from the pods and chafe.
Finally, the small material is shaken back and forth over mesh screens, where the seeds fall through to a bin below, and the pods stay on the top. After this the seeds are passed in front of a fan, which helps even more chafe to blow away.
After the all the seeds have been separated from the pods they are cleaned further with our seed cleaning equipment, sent to our in-house Quailty Control Lab for germination and disease testing, and finally, packed up and sent to customers!
Check out our slideshow of pictures below!