Rain pounded and the wind howled at our house last night. The majority of Northern California experienced similar storms.
Many of our farmers in the Sacramento, Yolo and Solano counties got more than ten inches of rain between New Year’s day and last Friday. That’s more rain than they got the entire winter of 2014-2015.
Just about everything a farmer does is harder during wet, cold winters. Imagine their work for a moment. I certainly don’t choose to garden during a storm. But a farmer has to be outside tending the land despite wild weather. Harvesting vegetables during storms means walking in the slippery mud while being hammered by the elements. And they can’t pick citrus at all when it’s raining: climbing wet ladders with muddy boots is too dangerous.
Big storms and freezing temperatures almost always damage some crops. Each of our farmers does what they can to harvest as much as possible during the dry spells. While they try to maintain quantity, this type of weather has an effect on produce prices. It’s the result of lower yield and lots of product loss for the farmer.
All this writing about the downsides of rain is not intended as a complaint. These are just the realities people growing our food manage daily during the winter.
January is the month we need lots of rain. Generally speaking vegetables don’t thrive the first month of the year. There is not enough sunlight in the short days. So, this is the way mother nature intended. Moisten the ground now to prepare for later.
After last week’s rains, the Drought Monitoring Center declared the “extreme drought” officially over for most of Northern California, including Sacramento, the Bay Area and Yolo and Solano counties where many of our farmers grow their crops. Click here for more information about the current state of the California drought.
Next time you are in shopping for fruit or vegetables, take a minute to think about the weather conditions of the farmer who harvested that kale or saved that orange from a storm.
See you soon!