A Note from Farmer Al: May 26, 2019

Dear CSA Members, 

Late rain. 

Yesterday, at the Ferry Building Farmers Market, I was answering one question all day: 

"How has all this late rain affected your crop?"

As in everything in farming, the answer is complex and many-sided. It's always "the good, the bad, and the ugly!"

Take cherries as an example: if the cherries are ripening, and just about ready to be picked, they're vulnerable to damage. The skins are already softening and fragile, so rain will ruin them. But, if the cherries are less ripe, they'll be just fine. So it depends on the variety, ripeness, and timing/volume of the rain. If it's really windy right after the rain, that could definitely help dry off the fruit before the water can penetrate into the skin of the fruit. 

Other fruit,  such as peaches, apricot, etc suffer the same impacts cherries but are significantly less vulnerable because their skin is less fragile.

Also, timing. Cherries ripen in May when there is still, here in Bay Area, some significant risk of rain. Most of our stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, pluots) ripen in June, July, August, and September when the risk of rain is almost zero! Actually, rain on green fruit is extremely beneficial:

  • washes off dust, (dust is ideal for habitat for mites, one of our worst pests.)

  • washes away aphids and the sticky residue aphids cause on plum leaves

  • irrigates the orchard (saving us labor, and electricity to run the pumps)

Learn most in this week's Farm Focus!

Farmer Al