As the rain moved in and the smoke cleared today, we are starting to get back to our regular routine on the farm. Over the past two weeks, while the farm did not sustain any direct damage from fire, we felt the effects of smoke from the Holiday Farm Fire that was only about 60 miles directly east of us. It has been a scary time with a lot of uncertainty. Oh, how we were happy to welcome the rain!
When our area first began being blanketed in smoke, we also experienced high winds that downed trees, created power outages and really dried everything out. With the fire danger being so high, our power was not restored for over two days. This means that during the busiest part of our season, we were without irrigation for the crops in the field and without refrigeration for crop cold-storage. We made the decision to water our salad greens by hand and let some other crops go. Within a couple of days, ash had lightly coated most of our vegetables. The smoky sky mimicked a cloudy one and our crops didn’t see any direct sun for well over a week. On a normal sunny day, crops start out the morning with dew and then as the sun hits them, they dry out over the course of the day. Without the sun, we had the dew but no evaporation. Therefore, we have seen a lot more mildew and mold. Crop evaluation continues on a daily basis – we are making decisions at each harvest about what to keep and what is too damaged to save.
Our resilient crew has been working limited hours to keep up with the basics around the farm, mainly during the mornings when the conditions have been cooler and clearer, and have taken the time to rest and get out of the smoke as much as possible. We were able to modify harvest schedules last week and were still able to get our CSA boxes packed and delivered. As of today, we’ve missed a total of 5 farmers markets which is a big blow to the farm’s income at this crucial time of the season.
As we near the end of September, we still have a lot to harvest. Our season typically goes until the end of October and sometimes into early November. We are hoping to make all of the Lane County Farmers Markets through the end of October. If you are looking for a way to help local farms, this is it!! Purchasing directly from local farms (farmers markets or online) is essential as we all try to navigate this difficult situation.
We look forward to continuing our good work of feeding our local community.
Stay safe, stay healthy and take care.
Lisa (on behalf of your farmers Debra, Bill, Matthew, Randy, Sarah and Parker)