For most farmers, there’s not much to like about Holidays Weekends during the summer. You can’t put a farm on hold during the hottest time of year: the crops just keep growing. At a minimum, you have to keep watering them. And if you’re harvesting — as we pretty much always are — you can’t stop for three days. Heck, sometimes we can’t even stop for two days. Even in a regular week, we barely get everything done.
To make matters worse, Monday is always our busiest day of the week. Not working Sundays means there is always more to do Monday. We still have to pack CSA boxes on Tuesday, which means harvesting on Monday. And our retail outlet customers generally place larger orders on holidays, because they get cleaned out over the busy weekend.
But occasionally, the stars align in such a way that we decide to shut down on Labor Day. Not for any symbolic reason, but for practical ones. Some years, our summer crops are more or less finished by early September and there’s simply not that much to harvest. That’s not the case this year, as our tomatoes in particular have put out an unusual late-season flush of ripe fruit.
Instead, this Labor Day we are shutting down because of the weather. Temperatures are expected to possibly set records next Monday — possibly the hottest day ever recorded for this area. The National Weather Service is forecasting 114 degrees here, hitting 100 degrees before noon.
First, there is the safety and health of our employees to consider. While we are pretty well acclimated to heat by now — having experienced 35 days at or over 100 this summer — Labor Day could be fully ten degrees hotter than the hottest day we’ve had in 2022.
Second there is the impact on the vegetables and fruit. With a forecast of 111, Sunday will be just slightly less hot than Monday, and the reality is that tomatoes and many other vegetables are damaged internally any time the temperature hits 110. So harvesting those items on Monday would be pointless.
Instead, we’ll be harvesting certain items on Saturday in advance of the hottest weather. On Tuesday, we’ll evaluate the crops in the field and see how much damage has been done. We’ll do our best to fill up your CSA boxes with a combination of crops from storage and the field.
We’ve actually been pretty lucky in June, July and August this year, which were consistently hot but never “too hot”. We’re crossing our fingers that the Labor Day heatwave will be Summer 2022’s big finale, with fall following in its wake.