News from the Farm | January 10, 2022

And we’re back! 2021 is wrapped up and done and hopefully we’re all are rested up from our break and ready to dive in to 2022 full speed.

It’s a good thing we took a break when we did. In addition to just being ready for some R & R, December was a pretty wet month and wet weather means slow, muddy harvests and precludes most tractor work. The last week of work in December was a bit wet and chilly (though we had a nice day for our holiday party on Friday the 10th) and since then it’s been a lot of rain and grey days, with bursts of sunshine in between, though not enough to dry things out. In fact, we got over 8 inches of rain just in December and January (7.5 in December and about 0.75 of an inch so far in January) and at about 15 inches total since that big storm in October. The surrounding hills are green, cover crops are growing nicely, Cache Creek has water in it, and there’s still standing water in a few of the furrows and muddy sections of most of our roads.

In addition to the rain, it also got cold. It was 27 degrees on the early hours of January 2nd and dipped below freezing, or just above, multiple times. There was even snow in the west on the Blue Ridge Mountains a few times! Some of the crops don’t do so well with low temperatures, but with others, like carrots, it makes them sweeter. With the cold and few daylight hours this time of year, the plants grow slowly, making it a good time to take some time off, to say nothing of our need for a rest after a busy summer and fall. Then just like everyone else, we have a desire to spend time with friends and family during the winter holidays and New Years. Some farms take longer periods of time off for the winter by choice, or because of their climate (snow!), but with the warm climate we have, and our goal to provide stable, year-round employment, closing up for all winter isn’t in the cards.

Winter is supposed to be wet and cold though; that’s what we expect and it’s a relief to get the rain after last year’s absence. It’s too soon to start celebrating though. While snowpack levels are above average for this time of year, reservoirs are still far below where they should be and there’s a lot left of what should be the rainy season before we can really say how we’re doing in terms of water. This next week is forecast to be sunny and pretty warm, and other longer-term forecasts predict a pretty dry next few months. So we’ll have to see.

There’s a lot about 2022 that we’ll need to wait and see about. Farming is cyclical with certain rhythms and patterns we know to expect, but there are also always surprises. Some crops will have a great year, while others will be disappointments. There are some things that seem certain (the summers will be hot and dry and the COVID pandemic will continue to challenge our crew and customers being two of those near certain facts). But aside from that, who’s to say? We look forward to seeing what the year will bring and sharing the bounty of what does well with you.

Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager