Snow in October = No Lettuce This Week!

It snowed in October for the first time I can ever remember.  I read that one year in the late 1970s was the last time there was enough snowfall in October to actually measure.

Many people in the area are just now, days later, getting electricity back.  For most of us though, life is pretty much back to normal.

Yesterday I picked up our bi-weekly Community Supported Agriculture box and was surprised to see there was no lettuce.  When we signed up we knew we were going to have to start eating lettuce a lot more as it was promised to be in every single box.  So why no lettuce?

The snow killed it.

Here is a copy of the Crawford Organics CSA Newsletter which explains what happened to the lettuce, and other vegetables, on the farm during the storm:

     The cold weather last week did more damage than we expected. The snow was pretty and we enjoyed a more leisurely day while it fell. However, after the snow stopped, the cold came. We had 22° at our place on Sunday morning. I had to carry water to the chickens before we left for church. Their usual waterers weren’t frozen very solid, but it still took several hours for them to thaw. It warmed up Sunday afternoon and quite a bit of snow melted. Sunday night it got cold again, though not as cold as Saturday night.

On Monday we waited till noon to start harvesting. We can’t pick anything while it is frozen so we waited. We also wanted to let some snow melt before we tried to harvest. Only once we started picking did we see exactly how everything fared through the cold. Most of the kale was okay, though there were a few damaged leaves. When we went to get the lettuce, we found that it wasn’t so happy. Many of the ribs had frozen and cracked. Several of them were already beginning to decay. When we stripped all the bad leaves off, there wasn’t anything but the heart left. We were planning to send lettuce in the boxes this week. We checked both the older and the younger group that was left outside. They were both equally bad. We checked the next younger group that was in our high tunnel. They were fine, just way too small. There will probably be a couple weeks here without any lettuce. We will have to wait for the young group to grow big enough that we can pick it. We had also planned to send bunched beets. However, their tops were badly scarred from the freezing weather. We were thankful to see that the roots were unharmed. We sent just the roots in the box this week. We just barely had enough cauliflower to put in the boxes. We didn’t think we would have any, but there were just enough that survived. This will be the last time we can send it. (With all the rain this fall, both broccoli and cauliflower have had a lot of disease trouble. In a drier year, the cauliflower would normally last much later into the fall. The broccoli is still trying, but it is growing very slowly. At the moment there isn’t enough to send.) We are sending peppers this week. We had just a small patch inside one of our high tunnels. All the peppers outside are totally dead. The plants inside are damaged, but the fruit is still in good shape. We hope to have peppers for another week or two.

One blessing we have by living in America today is that we can head to the grocery store and buy pretty much whatever we want whenever we want it.  Occasionally there may be a shortage of something due to a bad crop somewhere.  I recall a couple years ago stores were short on canned pumpkin.  Prices may be cheaper when specific fruits and veggies are in season.  But for the most part, we have a tremendous amount of variety at our fingertips.

It is a blessing.  Perhaps it is also a curse.  We have little to no connection to God’s creation.  That is why I thought it would be cool to do the CSA.  We have some connection to the people who are cultivating the ground, growing the food.   Not all of it of course.  But it is a bit satisfying that later this week I will be eating beets, cabbage, carrots, red peppers, cauliflower AND POPCORN (which is awesome) that were grown right down the road.

But no lettuce, because there was a snowstorm in October.  In a CSA it is not just the farmers taking the risk, having to worry about losing a crop to weather.  In this community, we all eat lettuce or have no lettuce together.

I encourage you to look into Community Supported Agriculture.

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