Dear CSG members,
One day in August, we received 4 and a half inches of rain. Since that crazy deluge we have received a great deal of precipitation. I don’t know if we have set a record but it is a lot of wet days. Added onto that are a great number of cloudy or overcast days that we have experienced whether it is raining or not. So we haven’t had much sunshine the past several months. I begin with these observations of weather as farming is dependent on it and this fall we have witnessed that in a very strong way.
Honestly I cannot remember a fall that has been so constantly wet and cloudy. The plants have manifested these conditions in how they have grown (slowly, if at all) or succumbed to disease and rot. If you came to the harvest festival you saw this first hand. We rejected a small percentage of affected carrots which probably totaled less than 5% but I don’t think we have ever seen rotted or compromised carrots like that, ever. In a typical year we may reject .005 %. A few other examples of abnormal growing were the fennel, onions and cabbage. The fennel was rotting from the bottom up in a hasty manner. If we did not take the small bit that was left there would have been none. We took a big hit with the onions as they could not handle the wet conditions. We lost at least 30% of them. A section of the cabbage planting was under water (from the 4 and a half inches) and just died. Over 100 heads were lost.
These losses are only a part of the story. Perhaps even more significant was how the conditions just weren’t conducive to growing. Here I recognize how crucial sunshine is. The plethora of overcast days seem to put everything we planted from early August on into slow motion. Nothing sized up as per usual. If it managed to survive it grew at a snail’s pace. (speaking of which, slugs were one living thing happy with the soggy conditions!) I won’t go on as I don’t want to whine and everybody is cognizant of the weather to some degree. I am sure you have noticed that the shares have been on the light side. I share this information with you in an effort to explain why.
On the bright side is the crew. While it has been a “hard row to hoe” in dealing with crappy conditions, the crew has been outstanding. Hats off to Monie, Tim, Gina, Hannah, Smadar and Judy! Lets hope we don’t have to grovel in the mud so much next season.
There is an old saying in agriculture, “dry years make you worry, wet years make you broke!” If we were part of the typical arrangement taking our produce to market where the farmers shoulder all the risk we might be broke. But 30 years ago a smart group of people decided to try a different arrangement where this risk, and bounty I might add, is spread out among the community. That was and is the thinking behind CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) of which you are a part. We have always tried to stay true to this original impulse and view CSA as more than just a marketing gimmick. It truly defines who we are, not just we, the growers, but you the eaters as well. For being part of this community we are sincerely appreciative.
While it has been a less than optimal growing season we still have much to be thankful for like your understanding and continued support. On behalf of all the gardeners I wish you and your family and friends a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Sincerely, Farmer Mike