Florence, or, the rain

The hurricane was every farmer's focus of conversation this past week. It's hard to remember now, but a few days ago Florence was a huge concern. How to prepare, how to plan, and how to conceive of yet more rain on already-saturated fields. Do we rush to harvest crops that might be blown to bits by the big event? Will fields be washed away, plants too waterlogged to grow? Should we dismantle hoophouses, lest they be destroyed by tropical storm winds?

All those decisions were relatively minor and could be made later compared to the biggest decision: What to do about Friday CSA delivery? I couldn't quite ask you all to pick up your shares during the very afternoon a hurricane arrives. So I figured we could move the delivery a full day earlier this week, though that would require some advance planning–plans that needed to be made, really, before the forecast firmed up. I was ready to make that decision Tuesday night, and then the forecast started to shift in our favor. Wednesday morning, it was looking even less dire, and I thought we might deliver the CSA half a day early but again delayed deciding. And then, in the end, the hurricane kept moving south and the early delivery plan kept moving later until we were right back to the normal Friday schedule, no hurricane in sight. We might have some significant rain and wind next week, but most likely in amounts we can cope with, and not on the CSA day. We are feeling pretty lucky.

The big surprise then, is that last weekend's unexpected 5 inches of rain is the big rain story of the week. We have already received our full year's worth of rainfall plus some, and it's only September. There was a time when 5 inches of rain was an incredible amount, but no longer. This climactic shift is indicated more by how unremarkable these rains have become than by how high the rainfall total continues to climb. Remember the two weeks of saturated ground in May, just as the summer crops were going in the ground? And the two weeks, again, of ridiculous rain in late July just as the summer crops were hitting their peak? And now we have two weeks of tropical storm rain and then hurricane rain, which is putting a decisive end to those summer crops and delaying the fall crops as they sit languishing in saturated soil under the clouds and fog.

Let's just note, for the record, that this is quite unusual. Although I've been pleased by how well we navigated the crazy weather patterns this season and still managed to get all the crops in the ground, we're starting to see the real effects now. You'll notice, for example, the comically tiny amount of tomatoes, a vegetable you will likely not see again this season. Every single zucchini, cucumber, and eggplant we picked this week went into the CSA bags.

Although in most years the shift from summer to fall vegetables is more a product of the arrival of fall crops rather than the disappearance of summer crops, we have definitively made that transition this week, and all of a sudden. Expect to see much more fall-like bags from here on out. I hope you're ready, because we sure are!