It's been a gentle and sunny week on the farm this past week, the farm where I grew up out there on the edge of the city. The picture with everyone smiling from under their masks is a bit of a celebration for the farm team. We are a couple of weeks in and feeling good with the routine. We have a lot of new faces around the farm, and I ask them to do a lot in the name of the community, education, and good agriculture. We have a lot to smile about - and life is going on.
We have learned a lot over the past few months. Surviving a pandemic is a first for me. It affects the whole world, not just our little part of the world, and that shapes our human story. The regional differences in supply and demand blew our minds. Nevada and Oklahoma did not see a dip in supply in their grocery stores. Pennsylvania had toilet paper and cleaning products weeks longer than Connecticut. California does not plan to reopen fully until a vaccine is validated.
At the home farm, we have realized we had a lot more supplies on hand than we expected because we already had practices in place to be clean. We had to increase our diligence, physically distance ourselves, and add masks. I was shocked that everyone was hoarding toilet paper. I discovered that when other families hoard toilet paper, that is my wife's queue to accumulate medications, chocolate bars, bleach, flour, and rubbing alcohol. We went months without needing to buy extra toilet paper. We keep a farmer pantry - we knew we had food with the canning from last season. More people need to preserve food at home - keep that in mind as the crops get picking and you want to buy to can at home (think jams, sauces, preserves etc).
Turning to look over the fields, the rain helped a lot, and we still need a bit more. About 26% of the state is now officially in drought, mostly the northern part by the airport. Having a drought at this point in the season will stunt plant growth, wilt gardens, brownout lawns, and increase the concern over fires. I have started picking my early greenhouse tomatoes. I am staking the early field tomatoes, and I'm planting the late field tomatoes. The kohlrabi and fennel have begun to come in. The snow peas and radishes are a loss - I had only a couple buckets out of the entire planting. The broccoli is some of the best broccoli I've harvested in years because I've made small improvements in the growing practices that are paying off. The bell peppers, cubanelles, and hot peppers are growing and starting to flower.