Friday, May 27, 2011

Ending Week 1

So today is finally Friday! We had a few trucks of pickles leave the tank yard early this morning and afterwards was paperwork and getting to know my co-workers. My co-workers are Dan, Dave, Tad and Beth. Beth works in the office at the tank yard and helps with getting the trucks loaded and back on the road. Dan, Dave and Tad all work in the tank yard and have all the miscellaneous jobs to do. Dan is our supervisor, while Tad is the mechanic and Dave is the Lab Tech.  I work a lot with Dave. We collect samples of the brine from the tanks and test them for many different things to ensure the cucumbers are pickling. I also work with Beth in the office with trucking. 
I can't believe a whole week has passed and I can't wait for next week to start, but for now it's a three day weekend! According to the USDA, 97500 acres of cucumbers were harvested for pickles in the United States in 2009. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Learning the Basics

This morning I worked in the office. I learned how to fill out paperwork for trucks leaving the tank yard. It was really fun helping the truckers and the crew navigate the tank yard using radios. Later in the day, I took samples from 21 tanks to test the pH, lactic acid and calcium. The tests we use make the brines change colors and it easy to tell if we have to add something to the tanks. I finished testing the brines just in time to see the clouds roll in and the rain to come pouring down. The day ended with cleaning up after the first storm and getting the trucking lists ready for Thursday.
Did you know that pickle juice is said to prevent cramping? Many athletes and trainers drink pickle juice after a workout. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The First Day at Work

I was hired to work with Hartung Brothers, Inc. for the summer. This opportunity came to my attention through the UW-River Falls CAFES Internship program. I wanted to see a different aspect of agriculture and thought working in the Bowling Green, Ohio cucumber tank yard would be fun and a great way to see a different part of the industry. 

Today was my first day working in Bowling Green, Ohio! I met the people I will be working with for the summer. My job for the summer includes: taking samples of the brine and testing it for calcium, salt, sugar and pH; I also get to weigh in trucks and help with the paperwork. Walking 950 tanks multiple times a day is really tiring, but it is a really interesting industry. Did you know that the average American eats 8.5 lbs of pickles each year? That would explain why there are 950 tanks full of pickles at the Hartung Brothers tank yard in Bowling Green.