News from the Farm | February 27, 2023

We’re very used to seeing fluffy white almond blossoms at the end of February, but fluffy white snow is an anomaly. Snow in the Capay Valley is rare, but does happen on occasion, and it’s not uncommon to see snow high in the hills to the west. We can’t remember all the dates, and our Beet archives don’t provide a complete record but we definitely had snow in January 2002, January 2008, and January 2011, and other years too. In fact, the only time we’ve ever cancelled CSA deliveries (over 20 years ago) was due to snow – do any long-time CSA members remember when that was? And now we can add February 23rd and 24th, 2023 to that list! Snow started falling late Thursday night and on Friday morning, we woke up to snow on the ground. We didn’t need to cancel the CSA this time; we were able to get all the CSA boxes, tulips, and non-CSA orders harvested on Friday and then most folks went home early.

Of course, weather like this brings up the question of crop damage. We’re not actually too worried; the Thursday night and Friday morning temperatures (with snow) were warmer than some of the other recent nights without. Snow holds a constant temperature and can act as an insulator. The most vulnerable crops right now are almond and stone fruit blossoms, newly transplanted vegetables and flowers (like the cabbage transplants in the photo above), and some of the more delicate greens and flowers. We’ll have to see what the long term impact is, but we’re not too concerned. And any worry didn’t get in the way of enjoying lobbing a few snowballs on Friday morning.

The snow on the ground was all gone by Friday afternoon and as of Monday morning, most of the snow in the hills is gone too. Those who joined us for the cold and damp but fun 2023 Almond Festival got to see it!

One anecdote from Andrew: he collected the snowmelt from 1000 square feet of north-facing roof on one of our barns and got 1000 gallons of water in two hours. That shows why snowpack is so important as a California water source! Though it’s probably best that the snow isn’t falling in Guinda and instead goes somewhere where it’ll last until later in the year when we really need it.

– Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager