We’ve been lucky the past few years; even in a long stretch of overly wet weather going back to 2008, in my memory the farmers market has only rarely been disrupted by bad weather, at least during the main part of the selling season.
I’m a little concerned about this coming Saturday’s market; the NWS models are showing a strong cold front pushing into central Missouri overnight through Saturday morning. Any system that drops the temperature 10+ degrees in passing has the chance to produce real storms, and the current NWS forecast predicts that:
THESE STORMS MAY BE SEVERE WITH DAMAGING WINDS THE PRIMARY THREAT. WITH HIGH FREEZING LEVELS…THESE STORMS WILL BE EFFICIENT RAIN PRODUCERS WHICH MAY RESULT IN FLASH FLOODING AS WELL.
We’ll see, but it’s been a long time since a strong cold front was pegged to move through central Missouri on a Friday night/Saturday morning schedule, the worst possible for market. Beyond the considerations for sales losses if customers stay home during bad weather, what happens if/when lightning starts striking nearby and winds pick up? You can only weight your tent down so much, and I’m not likely to want to stand there holding down a metal tent with lightning going off around me. So I face the very ugly choice of seeking safety in a vehicle and letting the storm play havoc with my carefully arranged and very valuable market setup, or staying out there and taking personal risks.
This may not happen this weekend, as things still have to come together just right for storms to develop during market hours, but this is the closest chance for it I’ve seen in some time. And we personally know that sooner or later something like this will hit on a Friday night, with the potential for flash flooding, and force us into a really difficult decision about how to handle a potential flood on the stream which blocks our road.
So I offer this up, not as a doom&gloom forecast, but just as a case study of another variable we need to consider as market farmers. And, frankly, the value of some form of permanent shelter for farmers markets.