We aren’t the first to say that the weather this year has been anything but normal.
We kicked off 2022 with wind, atmospheric rivers, and a lot of snow in the mountains. February rolled around and it became colder and colder as the month went on. March came in (and out) like a lion with a few nice days sprinkled in between. April was a mystery for us all; with many incredibly warm days, plants throughout the valley woke up in the middle of the month, quickly developing new growth and then were immediately blanketed with the latest snowfall on record in the Willamette Valley. May was, well, very wet! June…same story, with strawberries arriving in abundance by the middle of the month. Finally!
As we welcome the summer season with open hearts, we look ahead at the forecast and see warm weather ahead. At the drop of a hat, the weather changed and our spirits are lifted!
Plants in the farmers’ fields are beginning to perk up, with the bright morning sunlight drying out their leaves and the soil surrounding their roots. They too are breathing a sigh of relief.
For farmers that grow summer crops within hoop houses or farms with orchards east of the Cascades, predictable summer crops have emerged onto their tables. Cherries, tomatoes, peppers, and peas are all showing up, and each week we anticipate with giddiness what may arrive next.
Week after week, farmers bring more and more of these juicy fruits and vegetables to market, but there’s not usually enough to last until the end of the day. Despite the ever-changing weather we continue to experience in Oregon and Washington, our farmers keep showing up to farmers markets (or if they’re not, they definitely wish they had enough produce to show up).
Now more than ever is the time to show up for the farmers that come to market, even if they may not have your favorite fruits and vegetables yet. Be patient! Farming is a gamble, and sometimes it is incredibly fruitful and other years it takes A LOT of coaxing those seedlings along. This year it’s the latter.
We are still processing the losses of all the unexpected cold and rainy days that lasted far too long this spring. Whether it’s shown through the scars on peppers because their blossoms rotted onto the fruit with the increased humidity, or that Ima Blueberry (typically not the only blueberry at market) showed up to the party a few weeks early this year (pictured left), it’s going to take a while for us all to understand the unbelievable impact the weather has made on our local food system.
We still soak up each day of sun with incredible gratitude, and hope that each week the weather will be better for our farmers. Oregon Farmers Market Association said it best – “During challenging times, there’s no better way to encourage a vendor than to help sell out their booth.”