Freeze De-Briefing

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to give a little report about the status of our fields and how it is going to affect what you get in your boxes in the foreseeable future.Halfway into Juneary, with its warm, sunny days, it may be easy to forget that just a month ago we were all scraping ice off our windshields.  Even looking at your CSA box this week (or last week) it might seem like everything is back to normal.  That is about to change.

After this week, broccoli will disappear as the mature field we are harvesting now finishes up.  Later plantings, which included cauliflower, were severely damaged by cold.  These are two of our staple items in the boxes during late winter.

You will also see less citrus as we transition into late winter.  In mid-June, the irrigation well in our Minneola Tangelo orchard (which also has about 30% of our navel oranges)  failed and the trees went through the hottest part of the summer with no water.  When the freeze hit in December, the trees had still not recovered and the fruit was tiny, making them even more vulnerable to the cold.  We expect to harvest only a tiny percent of our normal yield.

On the other hand, our late winter Mandarin orchard looked great the day before the freeze, with a heavy crop.  100% of that fruit was destroyed.  The trees will survive, but were seriously damaged as well.

Freeze-damaged mandarins

There are a few upsides.  First, the dry and warm weather is allowing us to get out and plant new crops.  However, even though the days are nice and warm, they are still short and the nights are cold.  Nothing that we plant this time of year will mature before the first of April — in other words, there is no way for us grow anything to fill the short-term gap that is looming ahead of us.

One item we expect to have lots of in February and March is beets.  That’s because we have several acres of fields whose leaves were damaged by the cold, but which are growing back from the roots.  You will probably see those in your boxes more frequently than normal in late winter.

We also have quite a bit of spinach that weathered the cold reasonably well, and you will see it in your boxes most weeks.  Spinach is also the fastest growing of all our crops,  and we’ve already planted more.  Our other leafy greens are hit and miss. Collards and curly Kale held up really well while Dino Kale did not despite its tough, dark green leaves.

We will do our best in the coming months to keep your boxes as full as possible, including by sourcing items from other farms nearby.  We thank you in advance for your support while we try to make it to spring.

Pablito

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