Farmers surely have more to talk about than the weather, but it’s hard to ignore when you face triple digits day after day and the hottest part of summer is yet to come.
This season began and ended with unseasonable temperatures. In between, we have had some of the best growing conditions and worst bug infestations in years. In other words, we had the kinds of ups and downs that climatologists are predicting as the new normal for Central Texas.
I’m hoping you enjoyed the “up” parts — tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and okra coming in nearly a month ahead of schedule. The “down” part is that our fields have pretty much closed up shop and put out the “thank-you-please-come-back-this-fall” sign. I was afraid our leafy friends would have a hard summer when 90-degree temperatures showed up in February. Shades of 2011 lingered in the background but fortunately remained there because of generous, well-timed rains.
Now the rains have stopped and the heat is on. We have squash rows that refuse to put on any more fruit. Tomatoes and peppers that are covered with sun-scald. Heck, even the okra is tired of fending off the grass hoopers desperate to find something green.
If this year is a preview of this new norm, we simply will have to adjust our CSA to fit the weather. Farmers are stubbornly optimistic but they are also highly adaptive and I foresee a time when growing in mid winter will become preferable to mid summer. Toward that end we will be constructing our third hoop house next month.
I also foresee more farmers working cooperatively so that they can weather the extremes more effectively. Next month I will be visiting one of the oldest CSA cooperatives (in New Hampshire) to learn more how their farmers work together to meet the challenges of changing weather and a challenging marketplace.
As always, we are grateful for your support. And you understanding. We had to stop two weeks early but we will put that stubborn optimism to best use as we begin planting again this week for the fall season.
Next week (Week 18B) will be the final week of our CSA and every member will receive their money back for Week 19A/20B. We have reconciled all the accounts and made individualized Farm Stand coupons for each member that are valid for vegetables and flowers during the most abundant weeks of the fall season (10/16/17-11/6/17).
Please pick up these coupons next week with your shares!
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August is the time for our farmers to travel and prepare the fields for the fall season, so we are closed to the public. Carolyn will be out of the office August 1st-21st, but feel free to email her if it’s a question that can wait until August 22nd. If not, try emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.