Last week was one of the chilliest weeks we’ve had in 2014, and April ended up being rainier than December, January and February combined. But summer is coming soon. Really soon.
A glance at the box list today and you will see that we started picking summer squash today, just enough for the Large boxes. But it’s going to get hot this week here at the farm, and by next week everyone will get some.
And it’s not just squash. I have already eaten several handfuls of cherry tomatoes in the field. You have to walk through half the field to get a whole basket, but there are many green fruit now that will be ripening soon. By mid-May there will be plenty.
Our peach orchard started blooming almost two weeks earlier than it ever has this spring, so I wasn’t too surprised to see fruit on the earliest ripening trees already turning orange. Yes, you read right. We will have peaches in a couple of weeks.
This will be second year in a row that our summer crops will really get going in May. I would love to take credit, but as usual, it’s mostly about the weather. Drought years tend to be warm and, uh, sunny. And the more sunshine, the faster our crops grow.
Warm dry weather during bloom also means we have a decent crop of Apricots on the trees, although they won’t ripen until late May at the earliest. Apricots hate cold, wet weather and we often have few or none in years when it rains on the blossoms.
Not all the plants love the warm weather this year though. Cherries actually prefer colder climates like the upper Midwest and Washington state. Winters in California aren’t always cold enough to send them into full dormancy and guarantee a healthy bloom in the spring. This year was off the charts warm, one of the warmest winters recorded. As a result, the cherry bloom was weak and sporadic. Our trees have almost no fruit on them, and neighboring orchards are the same. Birds and bugs will likely eat or damage all of them. Statewide predictions are for a cherry crop of 25% of normal or less.