Harvesting Rhodiola Part Two
In our first video we saw Craig Park’s organic Rhodiola rosea field in full bloom in early May 2019. It’s time for harvest, and Craig uses his potato digger to bring up the entire plant. Dirt, rocks, weeds and Rhodiola come off the back end of the potato digger and the combination of everything is left in large piles. The piles are heavy and require either lots of muscle and/or mechanization to sieve out the Rhodiola.
Craig uses his backhoe to break up the piles. Workers on the ground separate out the rhodiola and place it into piles. Workers then use the backhoe bucket to gather the roots, all the time shaking dirt, plastic and weeds from the Rhodiola.
Next stop, the backhoe dumps the plants onto tables where workers shake and break out more weeds, dirt and rocks. The Rhodiola then goes into new tote bags which can hold up to 1200 pounds. Craig’s tote bags are a little lighter due to the spring top growth.
Forks are added to the backhoe and the full bags are lifted onto a flatbed trailer. The bags are covered and strapped down for their 2-hour trip to the ARRGO Processing Facility in Thorsby, Alberta.
The Rhodiola rosea is handled many times in the process of harvesting. Once the Rhodiola is out of the ground it is vulnerable to contamination. All equipment and tools must be cleaned prior to entering the Rhodiola field. Clothing, gloves and boots must be washed and free of contaminants. Even though it is hard work, the farmers must take great care not to bruise or pierce the roots in order to avoid entry of foreign materials, oxidation and decay.
Getting the Rhodiola ready for delivery to the ARRGO Facility is exhausting work for the farmers. They are so glad when the job is done. Thank you ARRGO farmers! You are truly hard workers!