Well, the Weather. . . .
This ain't right.
Those were the words that popped into my head yesterday, January 31, 2017. As I walked to the wonderful Lexington Community Radio studios to do the weekly Hot Water Cornbread radio show, these blooming crocuses stopped me still. I'd like a word for the mixture of joy strangled by sorrow that welled up. But "This ain't right"—that's what I got. It's too early for crocuses in Kentucky. And there are the crocuses.
Hiroki Tabuchi reported in a strong business article in Sunday's New York Times that midwest growers, who live at the epicenter of what ain't right with our climate, call it "the weather" as they work to adapt to changing farming conditions. The growers who came to Southern SAWG's annual gathering in Lexington last week may use different language while facing similar challenges.
The people who grow our food now face each new growing season knowing they don't know what to expect. They are pioneering, working to adapt to new experiences each year. At Southern SAWG, Alfred Farris, who grows certified organic grain in Tennessee, described the successes with weed reduction on his Windy Acres Farm from 30 years of careful, wise stewardship—and then came a crazy weather pattern in 2016. The soybean fields filled with cockleburs for the first time, and the harvest included about half cocklebur-half soybean by volume, requiring massive amounts of extra cleaning work.
We can take the risks with our growers. CSAs are one fine way to do that. CSA signups are happening all over the country right now. Check Local Harvest for good options.