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  • Writer's pictureRhian Merritt

Rain, Rain, come again (please) for another day!

Last week we took a little field trip over to Olde Furrow Farm for Fruition Days (learn more about that here). We went and checked out the seedlings growing, had a look at the veggie and flower seeds they were offering, and took a peek into the greenhouse to view the lettuce and their awesome huge mushroom (pic below). Usually when you ask a farmer what they have been up too, it's a long list of things around the farm - especially in planting season! However, when we asked Courtney, her response was "watering", followed by a look of worry.

Courtney said,"we are in a spring drought. This is something new for us, we've never seen a spring this dry, usually it's still quite wet and mucky right now in the fields but now they are dry and dusty. This makes it difficult to start seeds even with irrigation. It is a scary prospect to start the growing season like this. Another setback - we will not likely have cherries this year. The -25 cold snap seems to have killed all the flower buds. We heard another farmer will not have any stone fruit this year: peaches, plums or cherries. What's going well this year? Transplants are growing well, this is because they are in a nice protected space where we can give them all the attention they need. Our new herb garden is set up in a nice sunny spot and the plants seem happy there."

Courtney and Adam aren't the only ones concerned about this start to the year. Even with the rain we have received recently, the really dry spring has impacted this year's harvest. Sue from Tipsy Toad Grove Farm wrote about it on her social media accounts:

"Tomorrow is officially the first delivery day of our 2023 CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) season. I’d be lying if I said it has been easy this year. A spring with no rain, wildly varying temperatures, and a ton of wind has meant seeds that didn’t germinate, irrigating earlier than usual, and transplants that refused to grow.

I was chatting with my friend Jonathan @newellsjewells today and we lamented the fact that a lot of folks just don’t understand the work and the struggles of producing food. Growing things is a gamble, and so is marketing that food once you get it to comply.

I am so grateful that there are folks like my CSA customers who are willing to take a chance on me and who understand that some weeks will be great and some… won’t. I am also grateful for the opportunity to grow food, to feel connected to it, and to know it as more than something I pluck from a supermarket shelf.

I wish that everyone could experience the connection to food that comes with seeing it flourish in the field. And also the gut rot of lying in bed at night wondering if there’ll be frost, or the physical demands of weeding, hoeing up rows, and crawling through the dirt plugging in transplants.

I think if people could understand those things we would waste less, we would buy with more intention, and we would understand that the price of a tomato pays for so much more than one red fruit.

As I start my CSA season I just want to say thanks to everyone out there who gets it. Food is one of the most important things any of us can have, and knowing that there are folks who appreciate the imperfections, the challenges and the victories makes even the toughest seasons worthwhile".

Jocelyn from Seven Acres Farm & Ferments was also talking about the lack of rain on social media and the impact it is having on their crops.

"Tim told me last night that we may lose our pea crop (not an insubstantial crop for us). I’m thankful we’re a diversified farm and business - that gives us some financial resiliency in the face of crop losses, but holy moly I don’t think we’ve ever had a spring as dry as this one."

Jocelyn also spoke about how they run some irrigation to water their crops, but how they were going to need to invest in more for next year. This thought really stuck with me.

I am so grateful to the dedicated farmers around us who feed me and my family. The farmers care about the land, what they grow, and the people that eat it. With more and more variability and harsh weather events happening more often, they need to invest in their infrastructure to be able to feed us. In order to do that, they need their customers to buy from them, but in order to have their customers buy from them they need to grow food. What a loop to be in!

All I can think is how more important than ever it is that we support these people. They are the ones caring for the land, caring for the food, and feeding us. We know them, we know the food they grow, and we need them to keep growing it. And in order to do that, they need our support.

Let's Grow Local,


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