Happy First Day of Spring! It seems a bit of a formality this year, since it’s been warm and sunny for two months now. But you will notice a distinct difference in your boxes today. Generally we like to roll out new seasonal items one at a time, but this week we have three (four for Large boxes) — just as I predicted last week.
I spent some time last week looking back at our farm records. We’ve been keeping planting logs at Terra Firma since the early 1990s. But starting in 2007 I added basic weather observations that make them a more useful source of historical information.
We have been in a generally cold and wet cycle at least since fall of 2009, especially in the spring, which some meteorologists say is a regularly occurring pattern that will last ten years. As a result we have pushed our planting dates for summer crops back a bit while extending our spring season for some cool weather crops.
On our farm, 2013 seems completely different. For example, we already have a solid crop on our apricot trees and so does everyone else in the area. This hasn’t happened since 2008. Even last year, when we had a bumper crop of peaches and other fruit, the apricots mostly sat it out.
By all indications, the large pool of cold water off the California coast that caused the cooler weather the last four years is still there. Looking back at the summers of ’07 and ’08, they were pretty brutal. It was 110 degrees here on June 13th, 2007, and July of 2008 we had 21 consecutive days over 100. Pretty brutal for working. But our summer crops loved it — those were our two best years in business. In contrast, cool and wet 2011 was our worst year ever.
If spring of 2013 is anything like the winter, it will be a hot and dry one, and we’ll be harvesting our summer crops beginning in May and June like we used to back before 2009. The tomatoes, summer squash, and green beans we’ve planted are up and running.
If it cools down and gets rainy for a month, we’ll be back to the pattern of the last four years. It’ll be a long season of asparagus and strawberries and summer crops will arrive later than we like. But at least we’ll have a decent crop of apricots.