Friday, August 12, 2011

Almost the End

I have one week left and then it's time to head back to Wisconsin! I can't believe the summer is almost over!

Well, we have started receiving more trucks which means second crop is starting. The tank yard is busier than ever. We have over 300 tanks full of the 2011 crop! We only need another 200 to reach our goal for the season. We fixed all of the machines last week, but now they are still causing problems when we are unloading trailers, but they always say things only break when you use them. I still can't believe that we have over 300 tanks full and that there are almost 300 empty yet.

This experience has been awesome! I have met a lot of people and have learned a lot about the raw product industry. I even met some of the people from the companies we ship to. I never expected to have learned as much as I did, but I learn something new every day about the company and the industry. I wish school started later so I could see how the season finishes. I would recommend this internship to anyone willing to work long hours and someone who wants to learn a lot about the cucumber/pickle industry!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Start of Second Harvest!

We finally finished the first crop only to start the second! Last night we started unloading trucks from the second crop and we had a lot of trailers brought over to the tank yard. We currently have 275 tanks full of 2011 stock which means we are half way to our goal. We are hoping to have all 505 empty tanks full by September 12th, which means my last few weeks are going to be busy!

Over the past week, I have switched from working days to nights to get the "full" experience and I have really enjoyed working both shifts. Not only did I get to collect samples during the day, but now I am unloading trailers and working with the cleaning crew at night. My responsibilities have changed a little, but I enjoy the night shift because I was finally able to see the yard full of trucks and the craziness that occurs. There are a lot of vehicles moving in different directions at night which makes it confusing to figure out what's going on, but I think I finally have the system figured out. I have also been able to work with more people on the night shift and have a bettere understanding of why we were in a rush to get tanks emptied, cleaned and ready for the new stock. I can honestly say I wish I would be here until the season was over to watch the last tank be filled and the last truck to pull out of the yard, but the season finishes around the end of October. This has been a great experience!

Did you know: The average American household purchases pickles every 53 days and more than 67 percent of all households eat pickles. That is a lot of pickles!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Keep Those Trucks Rollin'

Last week we dealt with the heat (reaching temperatures of 115 degrees), but this week we are dealing with less crop to harvest. We were averaging 20 trucks a night, but now we are closer to 5. This leaves us with a lot of down time. We are still averaging 12hours/day, but now instead of worrying about loads, we are worrying about collecting samples from the tanks and cleaning up from one busy harvest to prepare for the next one (it's about 2-3 weeks away)! We currently have 197 tanks full of 2011 stock. This doesn't sound like a lot, but when you have to collect samples from them everyday it wears on you. With having more free time at work, I have been able to meet the people in the other divisions. These people have traveled from all of the nation ot help us with the incoming trucks from harvest. I have also been able to see other parts of the company and roles people play to make it run as smoothly as it does. It really makes you wonder about how many people work behind-the-scenes in other companies similiar to ours. I can honestly say that I have learned a lot in the past few weeks and that this is definitely been an influentail experience.

Did you know: That pickles have been around for 4000 years. They grow in more than 30 states and the top producers of pickels are Michigan and North Carolina.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday... Why Does it Always Happen on Mondays?

So the season began and the trucks are flowing in and out of the yard. Today was like most days which start off with unloading trailers of "green stock" (the cucumbers from the field that have been sorted and cleaned) in the tanks. While trying to finish some paperwork for the green stock, the trucker that was preparing to load out of the tank yard said... I hit a tank! Not only did he hit the tank, he hit the stairs next to it and ripped a big whole in it. The brine was flowing out! Luckily for us it was just a brine tank and didn't have any cucumbers in it. So we had to clean up what was left of the stairs and the tank and we finished unloading our trailers into other tanks. The plus is that it was only brine, but it still made for a crazy morning. Dealing with 14 loads of green stock and 4 loads from the tank yard to send out is bad enough, but rupturing a tank makes it a CRAZY day! Of course it's Monday morning!

Did you know: At Hartung Brothers, Inc. in Bowling Green, Ohio we have 950 tanks that are 12 feet high and can hold about 1000 bushels of salt stock. Bowling Green is also home to a grading and washing facility for Hartung Brothers. That is why we get so many loads because we are the yard that receives stock from the field and we also ship out or tank all of that stock. There are also tank yards in Imlay City, MI, Uvalde, TX, and Portland, OR that belong to Hartung Brothers, Inc.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Let the Long Hours Begin!

Harvesting started out slow, but now things are getting into full swing. With the beginning of harvesting includes new responsibilities to add to our every day tasks. I work the day shift which means I get to enter in all of the information for the new tanks, get samples from the new tanks and finish all of the paperwork from the night before. It's awesome that the company allows us to take on a lot of this responsibility and is helping us learn how the company runs. The other great part of working during harvesting season is getting to meet so many people. We have people that help us keep the trucks flowing easily through the yard and these people traveled all the way from Texas.

The first few days were slow, but we are slowly picking up steam. We have about 30 trucks coming from the fields tonight and we are expecting more and more to be coming in during the week. This makes for long hours and lots of paperwork! All in all, I have learned a lot and get to spend a lot of time outside. Now if only the weather would cooperate and cool off just a little to make it not so hard to work outside!

Did you know: If it weren’t for pickles, Christopher Columbus might never have “discovered” America. In his famous 1492 voyage, Columbus rationed pickles to his sailors to keep them from getting scurvy. He even grew cucumbers during a pit stop in Haiti to restock for the rest of the voyage.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ready, Set, HARVEST!

So yesterday started the harvesting season! We only had a few loads come in to test the crops, but we are slowly picking up speed. This week was crazy! We had an average of ten loads a day and of course something always has to go wrong when we are that busy. On Thursday, one of the guys hit a full tank with the axel on the tractor. This meant that Friday morning, the first truck to load had to be from that tank. It took three hours to load the truck! This left crabby truck drivers sitting around waiting to be loaded in the office with me. Fortunately, after we were done with that load the others only took about 30minutes. We finished loading all of the trucks a little before 4pm. That made for a long day.

With the start of the season, we split our crew in half so that two of us are at the yard during the day and the other two are there at night to load tanks. It makes it difficult when we have problems with the pump, but we will work through it.

Did you know: Heinz® Ketchup retired the pickle from its label after 110 years. The gherkin pickle was featured on Heinz® Ketchup labels since the 1890s. Now Heinz has switched its label to the tomato.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's Gonna Get Busy!

It's the time of year when farmers are in full swing. Well, at Hartung Brothers, Inc. in Bowling Green, Ohio we are preparing for the harvesting season to start! In the tank yard we are trying to get the tanks empty, clean and adding brine so that we are ready! It has been a long couple of days with trying to get as much done before the season as we can. The plan is to start harvesting some time late next week, which means that my work schedule switches from mornings to nights with longer hours. The to-do list is long, but with each item getting checked off it brings us one day closer to harvesting. Let's hope for a good season!

Did you know: July is National Pickle Month! This holiday is set aside for people who appreciate the pickle.