By Chris Mittelstaedt
There’s a fast-paced smart device game called “Fingerzilla” that lets you rain Godzilla-like destruction down upon virtual cityscapes and towns using only your finger. While being at the helm of such fiery chaos may make users feel invincible, the truth is that we are all at the mercy of the elements in ways we often forget.
I am always reminded of the basic realities of life when talking with our farmers. Last week, I chatted with Ed Magee, a peach and nectarine grower of ours in Vernalis, CA, who told me about how this year’s extreme dry winter in California would affect his upcoming summer crop. “They officially called it a drought,” he told me. “That means that water is going to get cut back. We don’t know how much yet, but it could be a problem.” He explained that during the last drought, even with his low-flow sprinkler heads designed to conserve water by directing the flow right to the base of the tree, they couldn’t get enough to make the trees flourish. “Once you deny the tree water during a drought year, you’re looking at a good two to three years until that tree comes back with the amount and quality of fruit you were hoping for.” Ed also noted that when droughts hit the region, the way in which water is allocated often means watering less but over more frequent intervals. This costs more for the farmer to manage.
Even in areas where water is abundant, a drought year means higher costs for those who grow our food. Ronnie Gutierrez, of Cruz Ranch in Porterville, CA, grows oranges and satsumas in the winter and plums in the summer. He told us recently that because of the lack of rain, he’s had to use the well water on his property more than expected. His water bill tripled in January alone.
Farming is still tough business, especially for small growers. This year, the anxiety created by wondering if there will be enough water for farming makes many of us wish for an app called “Rainzilla.”
Please check out our mix pages at fruitguys.com/mix to see what’s in season and what’s in your crate this week. From all of us at The FruitGuys and the farmers we work with—thank you for your business.
Enjoy & Be Fruitful!