|Melanie from Oliver's Creekbed Vineyard thins the crop.|
The summer's been painfully dry. And the future's not looking so bright either. The more I read about climate change models that have us in for extensive droughts across the country for possibly decades to come, the more concerned I am about our current food model. [See this story in the Washington Post.]
The thought that this is a new reality is overwhelming. There's already been so much crop loss and heartache in Midwest farms.
One of my favorite area farms had to cease its CSA offering mid-season. And I was sorry to hear that its fall seedlings are in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, it's heartening to see stories like this from NBC News about farmers planting grass in normally idle fields so that farmers with animals have feed. Even chefs, especially the ones who truly rely on locally produced foods, are chipping in. Girl & The Goat Chef Stephanie Izard held a fundraiser last week to support Seedling Farm, which suffered severe loss to its apple crop this season.
And I'm constantly amazed by how farmers manage to adjust, scale back or literally cut their losses.
One of my favorite fruit tree farmers from Michigan has managed to bring what appears to be a bumper crop of peaches, cherries and other berries. But if you ask, you'll learn he's had to eliminate the profitable U-Pick option this year.
Late last week on Facebook, one of my favorite Indiana wineries, Oliver Winery, explained that their grapes are actually doing okay, though there are sure signs of stress. But because of the rainfall shortage, there hasn't been enough leaf growth for shade. So the farmers thinned the crop down to a size that will produce what I hope will be another great year for Oliver wines.
I know other farmers are doing what they can to make the best of what they have to work with. They're a resourceful bunch and, especially after this blistering summer, I'm thankful every day for the food they put on my table.
I hope they're getting some of this rain, a most welcome reprieve from the long dry summer.