Bad news again.
Friday evening we had a pop up storm that hit our area on the north side of the cities. Some places around us had baseball sized hail, and we were 'spared' with receiving golf ball sized hail. Keep reading to see how this affects our CSA Shares this week.
The damage was significantly worse than the first storm. This time we got hail in all 3 of our fields along with a detrimental amounts of rain in a very short period of time. This time around, the hail punctured our greenhouse too. The greenhouse isn't covered by insurance because there isn't produce inside of it right now, so that'll be out of pocket.
Not good. Standing water and exposed squash means they'll either rot in the water or get a sunburn (which doesn't wreck them, but they're not as pretty).
This is especially disappointing after everything just turned a corner after the previous hail storm. As many of you read my previous blog post 2 days ago (the farm newsletter for this upcoming week), we had a lot of exciting news to share. The tomatoes, peppers, and melons were mentioned specifically because they were finally making very noticeable progress. The plants were starting to green up and grow, and the fruits were developing and in the midst of the ripening process.
15 pieces of hail hit this muskmelon. Zoom in, those dings are all cracks. Not to mention the damage to the vines and leaves.
As we were considering how (and how much) to share of this misfortune, I questioned whether I should keep some of the details out so we didn't alarm CSA Members. Truth is, this is the worst season we've ever farmed. We're still guppies in the farming world (only about 9 years in), but I can tell you all of our older farmer friends are telling us that it's the worst it's been in years. These kinds of weather phenomenon don't usually happen with this frequency.
We haven't picked even a single pepper this season, saving them for our first week of CSA's with peppers (which would have likely been next week). Now we are set way back.
THIS WEEK: We had planned for sweet corn, zucchini/ summer squash, cucumbers/ pickles, green onions, and lemon basil. The biggest loss we have from the storm on Friday is the cucumbers and summer squash because they're all thin skinned. The lemon basil and green onions are in Zimmerman which is really heavy soil (so standing water will give us trouble this week), but had the least amount of hail damage because the hail was smaller than in the Big Lake and Elk River fields.
As is was hailing on Friday evening, we literally questioned having to cancel the CSA Shares this week. It looks like we will have some of the produce but just know that the cucumbers & summer squash will definitely be lighter than usual and there is a possibility that you may only receive one of those varieties listed as opposed to multiple. We picked today and found that every single zucchini and almost every cucumber had damage- but we're keeping the ones that don't have significant damage so don't be surprised by a scuff mark on your produce this week. It doesn't hurt us, it's just not as pretty.
I also want to mention that this season is scary to those of you who are new to CSA Shares. What you can't see right now is all of the benefits; most noticeable is the ridiculous amount of produce that comes in the shares during a good season. We don't ever hold back produce, so when we have a great melon season (watermelon and muskmelon) you receive melons every week for 8 weeks- like last year!! The season before that was the big tomato season, and before that it was something else.
The temperatures and precipitation are always different from season to season which allows certain produce varieties to stand out because of the more favorable conditions. The trade off of a CSA is that on the great years we don't hold anything back, and in the not so good years, we still give you everything we have. See how our promise is still the same?... We will continue to do everything we can to help these plants recover from these stressful growing conditions and look forward to many more varieties ahead.
~The Farmer's Wife
Just more pictures:
A lot of tomato damage, to the plants (broken branches and blossoms broken off) and also to the first set of tomatoes (there are a lot on the ground around the plants).
Every pepper on this plant is wrecked. The one to the right has several holes but Ben didn't capture it all in this pic. Notice the leaves and missing branches.