Farm Happenings at Where the Redfearn Grows Natural Farm
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Frigid Disaster but hopeful for 2023

Posted on December 31st, 2022 by Dave Redfearn

Every other week CSA pickups will start this week.  January 5, January 19, February 2, and February 16, then we'll be back to weekly deliveries starting March 2nd. 

The nice weather we're experiencing now could almost make you forget about the record windchills we experienced just before Christmas.  Believe me, we have not forgotten about it. 

In 10 years of winter growing here in Missouri, this was the hardest-hitting, most bone-chilling cold we've experienced.  We've had subzero temperatures plenty of times before but to have 30 mile-per-hour constant winds and these temps for two days straight was really quite terrible.  It was so cold and cloudy that even in the daytime all the greenhouse heaters were running constantly.  We covered up crops with extra layers of frost blankets even inside the high tunnels, topped off the propane tanks, and prayed for the survival of the crops inside and under cover while watching the harsh winds lash the thin plastic skins of the high tunnels.  At night we were awakened by our low temperature alarms sounding from the sensors we use to monitor our greenhouse and high tunnels.  Even inside the heated tunnels temperatures were dipping below 15 degrees, the heaters just couldn't provide enough heat to overcome the rapid heat loss from the overnight buffeting winds.  

The next morning when the sun finally came out and the temperatures climbed above freezing inside the tunnels, we surveyed the damage.  It was awful!  The spinach alone (the most stalwart of the cold-hardy crops) remained unhurt, but everything else was either severely damaged or killed outright.  No kale, no chard, no lettuce, no greens, everything wiped out!  It was gut-wrenching to see that despite spending a couple thousand dollars on propane to get through 48 hours of frigid temperatures, we still lost nearly everything!  And to add to that, January is a terrible time to try to plant things in the tunnel.  We rely on crops planted, established and matured before winter to get us through the coldest and darkest days of winter.  Starting over now would mean we'd have nothing to offer (in the way of greens) until mid-March. This might mean needing to cancel the majority of the winter CSA, which would result in severe economic challenges for the farm and no fresh veggies for you!  2023 was looking like a disaster before the year even began!  

There really wasn't much we could do but pray.  These moments remind us that we are not in control of our own destiny.  "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matt 6:25-27). 

We weren't sure what we could or should do, but we prayed that God would provide for our family and for you.  So we prayed for Gods provision, trying to trust his promises like this one:

"The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them." Psalm 145:18-19 

We tried to take our mind off of the calamity that had befallen us. We went on with our Christmas celebrations with family and a quick trip out of town to help family pack up for a mov-- still not sure what we would do.  

A week after the cold, when we returned, when we went into the high tunnels to make a plan on what to tear out to try to replant first, we discovered something we never expected! We were amazed to discover that almost everything had FULLY RECOVERED!  I've never seen plants this dead come back to life like that.  The week before the greenhouses had even smelled like decomposing cut grass in your compost pile.  But now the smell is sweet and fresh like spring!  The shriveled and limp lettuces have perked back up.  We praise God for a miraculous recovery and for delaying us from immediately ripping out and replanting the dead crops that in fact recovered while we were away!  

Is there some damage? yes.  Most of the chard leaves that had been ready to harvest did not recover but the plants are alive and should produce new leaves within several weeks and the leaves on the celery are a bit shrively and radish leaves got a little freeze burned, but for the most part, we're back in operation!   

So, when you enjoy your greens this week, just know you are eating miracle lettuce!  Maybe it isn't quite manna in the wilderness, but we do see the provision of our God in the vegetables this winter! 

While we harvest your veggies we'll be giving praise and glory to God in Jesus Christ.  He is the one "who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist" (Romans 4:17). 

I'll leave you with Jesus' question:  “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)


Bread and Cheese

Farm to Market Sourdough Artisan Loaf

Hemme Brother's "Brother's Keeper" block


Happy New Year from the Redfearn's

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)