We’ve had a wet spring and early summer, and it’s wreaking havoc on planting and harvesting for many farmers. I talked with some of them last week about the strawberries.
Earthly Delights had a limited supply of strawberries and wondered if they would be able to bring more this coming week. Liz told me that strawberries tend to soak up water and that makes them fragile and difficult to transport and they don’t keep very long.
Weathered Plow is having a good season, but they are further north.
Azalia Farm Market not only didn’t have strawberries (after being the first to sell them this year), but they didn’t have much of anything to sell the previous week due to wet fields delaying planting earlier in the season.
Funny Bone Farm has also had problems with wet fields and getting things planted. They didn’t have enough produce to bring last week and started late for the same reason.
I read an article in the Indianapolis Star on Monday about farmers across the state looking at an unprofitable season because they either can’t get their fields planted or vulnerable crops are sitting in water-logged fields that can’t be harvested.
Small family farms are vulnerable to weather woes just as the bigger farms are. If it’s too wet or too dry or a bad storm blows through at the wrong time, it can delay their plans for planting or harvesting or even ruin a crop they have worked really hard to grow.
This brings up two very important reasons to support the growers at the farmers market.
What it means for customers is that we need to support these farm vendors so that they can continue to bring fresh seasonal produce to the Market for our consumption and enjoyment.
It also means we need to understand why there may sometimes be a shortage of strawberries (or some other item) due to the vagaries of weather and climate in a given season.
So snap up those snap peas while you can, enjoy the asparagus before it’s all done for this year, and grab those garlic scapes now. That’s the beauty and the joy of shopping fresh, local, and seasonal at the Market.