“It’s fair to say we’re in disaster mode at this point. We got another .7” of rain yesterday, and though I’m away, Mark reports that it’s raining again right now. The storm clouds have been fickle. Reber Rock Farm, just 5 miles to our west, got 2” in the storm that brought us .7”, and Westport, 10 miles to our south, got none. The National Weather Service is forecasting another week of heavy rain and thunderstorms. What do you do with such weather? The best you can, I suppose.
We’re recalculating our plans, both micro and macro. E.g, we’ll be putting more purchased organic fertilizer on the vegetables next week, to make up for nutrients that have been washed away. The team transplanted the fall brassicas to the space between the rows of strawberries in Superjoy, which is drained, instead of the undrained Middle Road field, where we’d planned to put them. The strawberries themselves are finished for the year, thanks to the extreme weather.
We’re debating what to do with the broiler chickens. They are on Firehouse Field, which is one of our wet ones, and we’re seeing a lot of coccidiosis, a disease that thrives in warm, wet conditions. It is not usually fatal but it scars the intestines and stunts growth. You’ll have noticed, members, that the chickens are much smaller than usual this year. We’re considering different options for the next batches of chicks, including moving them off pasture to the dry, covered barnyard.
There’s nothing that can be done about haymaking. It’s difficult to watch the uncut hay fields grow over-mature and less nutritious with every passing day. It’s a spiritual lesson, I suppose, in learning to accept the forces beyond our control, and a good intellectual and agricultural challenge to figure out how best to mitigate the damage. We are focusing on what we do have, and how best to use it.
And for now, members, you are in good shape. It’s not this year but next year that weighs heavy on us. The share is still beautiful and plentiful, and we have the cushion of time to figure out the best plan for the future. Of the last four years, three have been extremely wet, with two of them setting historical records, so our strategy must take into account the possibility of shifting weather patterns. We believe that diversity equals resilience, and if we’re anything, we are diversified. Not to mention stubborn, resourceful and determined…” (Continue reading this Essex Farm Note).
- Essex Farm: If It Bleeds It Leads (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Harvest Woes (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Good News and Bad News (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Oversaturation (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)