Being a farmer is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for those unwilling to gamble or take risks. More than a few ‘smarts’ are necessary, and I imagine it would take a lot of business sense too, especially nowadays. The ability to research weather forecasts, and from so many sources available today, may come in handy. An interest in dabbling in various sciences will benefit. It’s definitely helpful to have at least a little ‘clairvoyance’, perhaps combined with the ability to trust one’s own gut instinct. An optimistic nature would be of value. Of course, the more solid experience one has, the better it will serve them. A willingness to persevere would be a definite asset. And having some kind of faith sure won’t hurt! Oh, and let’s not forget just plain old good work ethic – no fear of hard work! In speaking with one of our local farm suppliers, Mike Berta of Elberta Farms, I learned about some of the issues our area farmers have faced. This has NOT been a good year. It is heartbreaking to learn of the woes that some of our local area farmers have endured.
An Asian fruit fly, the ‘Spotted Wing Drosophila’ has been playing havoc with raspberry crops, so much so that some raspberry growers have given up on the crop. Although the species has been around for the past 5 years, this year has been the worst. They guess it may be related to the mild weather we enjoyed this past winter, being that it never got cold enough to kill the larvae. The bugs arrived earlier than usual and were more of a challenge than ever before. Berta explained that, “by the time you see them, it’s too late.” They turn the inside of tender berries into mush.
While our mild winter last year caused some havoc this summer, the extreme cold of the winter before, also took its toll – Berta reported that a local garlic grower had no crop at all last year, as a result of the too-cold temperatures the winter before. It brings to mind ‘Rosanne Rosannadana’s’ mantra, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another”! (Hopefully some of you may also remember those earlier SNL days!)
It’s not ALL bad news though. Berta says apples haven’t been affected too badly, although it depends where the orchards are located. Hail has ruined some. He says most of the later crops seem to be safe, at least so far.
Next time we’re thinking to ourselves (as I am often guilty of), how expensive our own Ontario grown produce is, let us remember some of the issues faced by our farmers. We sure wouldn’t want them to become extinct, and so we need to support them. One way we can support them is by buying locally grown produce whenever possible.
The Good Food Box Program aims to do just that – by buying locally in bulk at a better price point, and then passing on the savings to our residents, participants can eat healthy produce grown by local area farms at the most reasonable cost. If we can get the word out to more of our residents, our pricing and selection will become even better.
This month we’ve put together an assortment of beautiful, wholesome, colourful fruits and vegetables for your Good Food Box. Hopefully by next month we’ll be able to purchase some more great choices, the weather willing!