It has been a hard Spring. The weather windows have not been in our favor so far. As I write, I am wracking my brain trying to figure out if I have been spoiled the last few years and have forgotten when Spring normally starts.
Last year was early. We had lots of spinach, beets, lettuce, and peas up and growing by this time. This year not so much, not so much. Last year was also a welcome relief as more normal summer weather patterns returned. But, when it started raining in the Fall, it just didn’t quit and still hasn’t. But, as a farmer, if I had to pick, last year’s weather was pretty good.
Two years ago, ugh. I shudder even to talk about it. There was no Spring. Just went right to Summer. It was great. Everything got going early, but it was a ton of management to keep crops alive and grass growing. Not my favorite year.
You might say that 2015 was a year where good farmers struggled to break even. I have often described the two seasons like this: in 2016 farmers made money by just getting out of bed; in 2015 farmers lost money when they got out of bed. When the weather is unpredictable, it really complicates the already delicate dance that farmers do with nature and the environment.
Every Spring, western Washington farmers pray for less water in order for our fields to dry out, and then, we pray for a little water later in the season so we don’t have to turn on the irrigation. Then we start praying for an Indian Summer so we can harvest the fall crops. Aren’t Indian Summers incredible?
Now that I am thinking of it, I imagine many of you have a similar prayer schedule too!
Change is inevitable and the weather is constantly changing. After 20 years of growing vegetables, I have realized that every farm season is different. And as a farmer/steward of the land, I make the best choices I can, with the best information I have, to do the best possible job I can, to grow food.
This year’s farm season is just beginning and a few more days of dry weather will go a long way towards erasing the rainy past few weeks.
Good food is always coming your way. Local food will be a little later, but it will be coming.
Tristan Klesick, Farmer, Health Advocate