Photo by Alexander Ryabchun/

I’ve mentioned before in this space that I enjoy crocheting. It’s relaxing (unless you discover that you made a mistake a million rows ago and have to rip everything out, or your yarn somehow gets itself wound into an impossible knot). It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to create something beautiful or useful out of a few skeins of yarn. I especially like making things for others – a sweater for my sister, a hat for my dad, toys for my friend’s children. I should probably devote more time to my hobby, seeing as I’ve got a bookcase full of yarn at home that I’m always adding to, plus a pile of the crochet magazines that I can’t seem to stop buying.

I like the process of crocheting and the finished product. But there’s an essential part of the endeavor that I do not enjoy at all, and that is weaving in the ends. Depending on how complicated your pattern is and how many colors you use, you can have approximately 3 billion ends to weave in after you’ve completed a project. It’s very tedious. But it has to be done; otherwise your scarf or your teddy bear will have all these random yarn ends sticking out everywhere. I suppose you could call it an experimental type of fringe, or avant-garde crochet, but if you want a polished piece that’s not going to unravel, you have to take care of those pesky ends.

I’m trying to be more efficient about the process. The project I’m currently working on involves flower squares crocheted in four colors. Initially, I completed several squares, and then wove all the ends in. That was silly. It made me want to throw the whole pile out the window. With the next batch, I wove in the ends after each color change. That made it a much less daunting task. Now I’m trying to figure out how to join all the squares together (which perhaps I should have done before I got going).

When you grow vegetables, fruit or nuts, your job isn’t done with the harvest. After all the work of soil preparation, planting, fertilizing, managing any disease and weed issues, combating pests and gathering the crop, you still have to weave in your ends, so to speak. You have to make sure your produce is handled and stored properly so that it’s clean and salable, and so that it won’t spoil quickly or potentially make consumers sick.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of information out there to help you do just that, so you won’t be like me trying to make a tote bag using an afghan pattern. Turn to page 6 to read more about how to manage postharvest handling and storage to ensure you’re providing the safest, freshest, tastiest produce possible.

Stephanie Peake