July 30, 2012 — Catawba River District Voices

It’s been quite a summer and we still have a month or so to go.  I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to interview a few farmers for this blog, but as you can imagine this is a busy time of year.  There are still lots of summer vegetables to pick and tend, all the while getting some of the cooler crops into the soil.  Hard to believe that it’s time to plant broccoli again.

This summer has been hard on farms due to the swing in weather conditions.  Tons of 90 degree plus days and then wild storms that whip the plants around.  Our corn field looks like a tornado hit it.  Even though our tomato plants are staked up, quite a few of them toppled over due to pelting rain and winds.  Fungal diseases hit a lot of the vining plants because of the dry, hot weather alternating with wet, hot weather.  Cucumber plants that looked fine one week suddenly became stricken with spotty fungus.

Oh … such is the life of farmers.  One local farmer told me that he’s never worked so hard and had so little to show for it.

I’m not writing all of this to depress you, but to give you insight of your “local food” farmer.  And to encourage you to buy from his or her stand at your local farmers market.  Farmers take a lot of risks each year, hoping for a good yield, but never know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve.  If the average consumer knew how much blood, sweat and tears go into producing that pound of tomatoes, price would never be a consideration.

A few weeks ago, my son witnessed a man trying to bargain down a farmer who was selling green beans at an already reasonable price.  Thankfully the farmer said he wouldn’t lower his price.  If the “buyer” had been the one to sow the seed, water, weed, and harvest those beans, he would have realized the price should have even been higher.

So brave the heat and get out to your local vegetable stand.  The farmer will thank you and so will your taste buds.