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This “winter” just doesn’t want to go away—another storm is forecast for tomorrow. We are up to nearly 40 inches of rain this season, which is nearly double what we get in a normal year. This is how I imagine it is to farm on the East Coast, where they get rain throughout the spring and summer. It really is a different mind- set, you have to take what the weather gives you and busy yourself with other tasks until things dry out again.
In a normal year, when the tap shuts off around now, us Western farmers make a big push to get ground worked up and ready for planting—spending long hours on the tractor. Now these hours come in a mad dash whenever the ground dries out enough.
These weather enforced “breaks” have allowed me to get off the farm more than I would at this time of year in a normal season. Last Sunday I went for one of my favorite bike rides, a loop around Elkhorn Slough via a combination of levees, farms and back roads. It gave me the first real chance to survey the damage done by this winter that we are still in the midst of. Downed trees are everywhere along with a huge amount of erosion and multiple closed roads. The mouth of the Pajaro River meandered nearly a half mile South of where it was the last time I saw it, and in one place it jumped its banks just North of Zmudowski Beach. It really makes me thankful that we came through as well as we did.
I am also thankful that we have had gaps between these latest storms that have allowed us to get things planted and to work up enough ground so that we are not too far off our planting schedule. The cooler-than-normal weather has meant that the things we have already planted are growing more slowly, throwing things off further.
Next week, however, we will start to have much more coming in—bunched green, lettuces, green onions, herbs and most importantly strawberries, which after having grown slowly and unevenly through the winter, are now showing amazing vigor. The fruit that some of you will get in your box this week may not be cosmetically perfect and will need to be washed before eating for sure. Rainfall from the storms we have been having can splash grit onto the fruit. The large strawberry farms in our area call these early berries “mud-fruit” and usually dump them in the bottoms of the furrows. We figured you all would rather deal with a little grit than to let these sweet, spring treats go to waste.
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