Throughout the season, you have read my writings about the challenges of this growing season- and of recent seasons- environmentally. The “lost month” of April; June - the “wettest month in recorded Minnesota history”, the 8.25” of rain we had in the first 2 weeks of September; intense humidity and heat at the very end of August (spoils broccoli…), followed by torrential rain after torrential rain in early September (epidemic disease in tomatoes, lacinato kale, melons…) and then, suddenly a week ago, temperatures 10-20 degrees below normal (sungolds stop growing / ripening… period). It’s been ugly… but we’ve survived!
The Bad (mostly in the past, too… the sun is shining today in Rushford… now 3 days in a row!)
Crop losses in recent weeks have taken quite a toll on our states of mind here at Featherstone Farm, to say the least. I’ve been known to blow off steam and express frustration about climate change adaptation. My apologies for occasionally going too overboard on this.
The reality is that yes, what we do is stressful and I sometimes question my ability to tolerate the risk long term. But Featherstone Farm (like all local farms…) is a survivor, and we’re learning from these struggles (the bad…) and we will be back stronger than ever in the coming weeks, months and years, albeit a great deal humbler!
The Good (and this seems to be the real take home, especially with the sun shining…!)
So many things have gone so well this season, despite the challenges. The bumper sweet corn crop in August, the zucchini and cucumbers and leaf lettuce when they were really on. The crops that are so nice right now, despite the rain of early September… the red peppers and winter squash, the cauliflower and grape tomatoes. We do have so much to be grateful for!
Moreover, the mid-term (2 week) weather forecast is remarkably favorable; much needed Indian Summer warmth and sun will replace the endless drizzle and 61 degrees of recent memory. And with an improvement in the weather comes a huge bump in productivity and availability of many crops, across the board – broccoli and cabbage, cauliflower,carrots and onions, some lovely root vegetable, and a last flush of tomatoes and peppers.
So here you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly of the 2014 growing season at Featherstone Farm. After all the gloom and doom of early September, I’ll be honest; I found myself questioning at times… “why the heck do we stay with it, given all the ups and downs?”
The answer is certainly that- despite the stresses and the heartbreaks- what we do at Featherstone Farm remains the most life affirming and satisfying work I could ever imagine. Working outdoors in the soil (rain days and sunshine… both!), collaborating with such a terrific group of fellow farmers / employees (you met many of them…), feeding people quality, organically grown food… this is a life’s work and a labor of love. Driving rains and early frosts notwithstanding, I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world to be able to do what I do every day at Featherstone Farm.
And I’m very, very clear on this point as well: we could never do any of this, without the steadfast support of great customers like you, through thick and thin.
Thanks so much for your support and for your business, and for spreading the word…