Updates from the fields:
In our never-ending pursuit of food for you, we gave Pete Chero, the owner of Yonder Farms, a ring on Wednesday. We were checking in on the raspberry and blackberry crops. Pete’s response was “Not looking good. It looks like the Nairobi desert out here. We need rain. We are irrigating but we are running low on water. The wind is killing us too. We spray and the water is flying all over the place. If we don’t get rain soon the raspberries are gonna blow away.”
Okay, yet another call to Randi Bartolata, at Kline Kill Farm. Randi—“Yea, I am not trying to ignore you just irrigating out here. My plums are good but I gotta bring all the other stone fruit up from the south.”
Hooray it rained yesterday!
So here is the scoop. Most farmers in the region are experiencing a drought with rainfall 25% below normal. This is made worse by the lack of snow this winter, which means the water table is low. The drought is challenging and a big problem for some products but good for others, like eggplants, which “don’t like their feet wet.”
The other thing that is going on is that the stone fruit crop (cherries, peaches, apricots…anything with a pit) was all but wiped out around here. The very warm winter coupled with the spring killer freeze did them in. It is so bad that the New York City Green Market is allowing farms to bring the fruit in from the south.
On the positive side, our farmers way up in Essex County are having one of their best years ever.
And, so it goes with local produce in the Northeast. A distance of just a couple hundred miles or even 10 miles can make all the difference. The most remarkable thing is that no matter what happens the farmers take it all in stride.
This Week’s Field Goods Favorite
Organically-grown blueberries! These are quite the rare treasure on the local scene. They are a sweet, simple snack. Throw in a smoothie or add to any blueberry baking recipes You really can’t go wrong with any kind of eating or cooking your blueberries.