Every day this past winter we’ve looked at the weather forecast, hoping for rain. We’ve marveled at 75-degree temperatures in February, and watched our peach trees bloom six weeks early. At this time of year the soil in our main field is normally quite wet, and we’ve never had to irrigate much before April.
The last rain a few weeks ago was very welcome, but the thirsty land needed it so badly that the soil was dry again within a couple of days. But it did help the stunted Larkspurs and Buttercups, which are again prolific.
In response to the worsening drought we’ll be cutting our production and concentrating on less thirsty crops. We won’t be selling to restaurants so this is primarily where the reductions will come from. Last year we had great success with increased use of natural mulches and we aim to have no bare soil at all. This is tricky — certain mulches can cool the soil enough to slow down crops or even rob valuable nitrogen from the soil. Many farms use copious amounts of plastic “mulch” which completely covers the soil to both conserve water and heat the soil, but we refuse to go that route even if it means we aren’t producing as much or as early. We understand of course why farms use it, but the volume of plastic used is huge and it’s very difficult to recycle. Almost all of it ends up in landfills!
We are planning our usual very diverse mix of crops, from super tasty green beans to our Italian Heirloom zucchini. We won’t be growing corn — it’s wonderful to have a great heirloom variety, but it requires too much water. We got a great start on our tomatoes and peppers this spring, so we should have them much earlier! And we’ll have a good mix of cherry and regular tomatoes (mainly heirloom varieties again) and about several kinds of peppers, including Poblano and our very popular Anaheims.
On the market front, there are some significant changes planned for this year. We have volunteered to manage the Groveland Farmer’s Market — after many years of service Bonnie and Richard Sanford have finally semi- sorta- retired. To help fill their very big shoes we’ll be offering some fruit and other items from some of our favorite farms. Last year we got some grapes, plums, and peaches and they were a big hit. We promise whatever we bring from other farms will be purchased direct from growers we know personally and of course we will only ever have organically-grown produce.
Remember, the Groveland Farmer’s Market starts May 23 and will run every Saturday from 8am to 1pm. We hope to see you there!
We’ll continue to have a booth on Wednesdays from 12-3pm at the Mountain People Organics (aka the Farmory) in Columbia. This is a great market with lots of activity, so if you’re up that way it’s absolutely worth the trip!
We have applied again for the Sonora Farmer’s Market but probably won’t know what’s happening on that front until some time in May.
And finally, we are working out a plan for phone and internet ordering. We have a number of regular customers who can’t make it to the market but don’t mind driving to the farm. Stay tuned for more information on this, but in the mean time please always feel free to email or call if you want to order direct. We won’t have that much until about the first or second week in May, but we promise it will all be awesome!
See you soon!