"STICK PRISON", is the term we use to lovingly describe the Branch Ranch harvests. In fall and spring we harvest our branches, cutting every stem by hand, making bundles in the field and then processing the sticks back in the poly house. In early fall the branches must be stripped of leaves and pruned before packaging. Later, once the leaves are off, the process is much faster but the volume increases with peak demand for Christmas ornamentals in November. Spring harvest is more unpredictable, since we depend on the weather to open the pussy willows and sales are geared towards Easter and spring-like weather, so each year is different.
With the introduction of weaving willow, we have a third harvest which must happen while the plants are dormant, making "Stick Prison" a longer and more involved workout! Thankfully we have some wonderful help which makes Stick Prison a whole lot more fun.