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Lettuce Rejoice! September 23, 2021- A Weather Whirlwind

Posted on September 17th, 2021 by Tamara McMullen

September 23, 2021

The Lettuce Rejoice!

Firmly Rooted Farm's Newsletter for their Veggie Loving Farm-ily

Some very muddy lettuce

On the Farm: A Weather Whirlwind

Hello again my veggie loving friends,

Already I find myself missing the farm life, but I’m happy I still get to see many of your smiling beautiful faces when I deliver shares on Fridays and work the Saturday market in Goderich. I won’t be spending much time down in the dirt at Firmly Rooted but my heart is still in it, even from a distance. I also try my best to get my farming fill when I visit the farm I grew up on. So don’t worry, school hasn’t consumed me completely, thank goodness. To be fair, I spend quite a bit of my time in school talking about food and farming and I love it, hopefully, that means I’m on the right track.

When farmers talk about farming, the weather seems to come up quite a bit. I’ve started many a newsletter with some light reflection on the state of the weather. I check the weather every day out of habit. When your entire livelihood can be wiped out by one bad storm, the weather becomes more than just small talk.

At Firmly Rooted we’ve had hail twice in recent weeks. Only little balls, thankfully, poking holes in our spinach and lettuce. We’ve heard from neighbours who had even bigger balls that ripped through entire cabbages. We consider ourselves lucky. Recently we got a considerable amount of rain all at once, which consequently drowned some crops in mud. Everyone reading this is likely aware of recent tornado warnings. These threaten the thousands of dollars invested into infrastructure, plantings, you name it. A farm is your entire life, and extreme weather is a harsh reminder of the impermanence of this life; we slowly build and organize our lives into the vision we see, only to possibly watch it taken away in an instance, devolving into chaos at a moments notice. Entropy is exhausting. But we’re thankful no tornados came for a visit and the most we had to deal with was a little hail and mud.

The fragility of farming in what can be an extreme climate is a large reason why we invest in covered spaces. Covered spaces simply reduce unpredictability. You can control these microclimates by protecting them in case of extreme weather. If frost comes earlier than expected, then we can rest easy knowing our covered spaces are protected. If hail threatens to ripe apart leaves and damage fruit, we rest easy knowing these plants have shelter.

But, as we look to the future, there is increased cause for concern. We know that the weather is only going to become more extreme as climate change advances. There will always be food, some years will be more plentiful than others, but the extreme weather we will experience in the future will require even more adaptability on part of farmers. Tropical regions of the world are already experiencing prolonged dry seasons, harsher rainy seasons, and the lack of social structures that provide financial support and resilience threaten food security. But this isn’t just a faraway issue, farmers in the western regions of Canada became all too familiar with harsh dry spells and chokingly hot wildfire smoke this summer, with increasing severity every summer. 

When your livelihood is outdoors, the weather can feel like everything. The make or break of a season. At the best of times, it’s a humbling experience. At the worst of times, it can be devastating. But we adapt, and move forward with creativity, resilience, and laugh at what can seem like the absolute absurdity of it all.

Kitchen Corner

Summer isn’t over yet! We’ve reached that sweet spot where fall vegetables are ready and it’s still warm enough out to make light and crunchy salads, or other summer fares. Our winter storage radishes are going to be offered this coming week. They make a lovely salad with some South-East Asian-inspired flavours. The recipe suggests julienne or spiralizing these radishes, but they are also beautiful to look at if they are simply sliced thinly with a knife or mandolin. It’s a pretty simple recipe, so play around with adding a herb or two!

Kitchen Clean-Up

We got two inches of rain all at once, which resulted in some very muddy vegetables, especially the greens. If you find things are a little dirtier this week, please know we tried our best!

That’s all for now folks, happy eating until next time!

Farmer Erika