Contrasting spring weather & CSA implications

It’s hard to imagine a more striking contrast in weather conditions than the springs of 2012 and 2013 here. Last year, spring came absurdly, worryingly early and forced us into an unexpectedly quick start to the growing season, distributing CSA share #2 weeks before we expected. This year, three strong winter storms within a month have shut down our progress toward spring preparations and planting, and will delay the 2013 CSA season as much as last year accelerated it. To date, the average high for March 2013 (46ºF with a few days to go in the month) is lower than the average low for March 2012 (48.4ºF). To illustrate these wild swings in weather & growing conditions, here are two sequences of photographs from the two years, taken at the same locations within a day of each other.

march_compare_combine

On the left, a view downhill toward our smaller growing area. On the right, a view north from pasture toward the main vegetable field. The upper photos were taken last year to illustrate just how early spring had come. We remembered these this year, and the timing of winter storm #3 was perfect to illustrate just how different conditions are now. The middle photos were taken the day before the storm, demonstrating how far behind spring is this year. Then, at bottom, it gets even farther behind as 7 inches of fresh snow seal in the landscape. Such is the nature of weather that farmers must deal with.

Fresh produce for the 2013 CSA season will be getting off to a late start; we haven’t been able or willing to put a single vegetable seed or transplant into the ground yet this March (though our greenhouse & seeding room are PACKED). However, like last spring, we do hope to put together an early share of overwintered and storage items to give members a taste of farm food. We have nice sweet potatoes & decent garlic still in storage, overwintered spinach ready to regrow with some sun & warmth, a few perennial herbs, and possibly a few other things: enough to put together a small share in the next few weeks. There will be a longer gap than desired between this share and the next one, but we hope these items will help tide members over.

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