“The Farmers’ Market was much bigger last year. Where are all the farmers?” As a Coordinator for the SFC Farmers’ Market at Sunset Valley, I have been answering this question every Saturday morning in May. Our regulars, our loyal consistent supporters have noticed, as good neighbors should, that Spring is coming late to the Markets this year. At Sunset Valley, we would normally expect to see our seasonal growers return in full swing by mid-May with an abundant bounty of fruits and veggies. Spring has sprung in a wet and real record breaking way this year! Some farmers have fared differently in the wet and windy weather, with growers coming from as far north as Waco, and almost as far south as Houston. We are in contact with all of our farmers and have offered our aid and patience to all of them.
We are reminded that every farm is unique: from the contours of the land, the varying soil types, the drainage patterns, the trees for shade and trees as orchards. There are also differences in the art of each farmer’s approach, such as the timing for the crops they have chosen to plant, also impacted by the amount of rain that comes, when and if it comes. Every rainy day is potentially a lost day in the field - a field that may need to be cleared and replanted if the rain washes away seeds, pummels delicate seedlings, or takes the veggies and fruits past their peak. If the rain keeps the farmers from getting to their fields to harvest, the produce will continue to grow past its peak, and it becomes too ripe in the muddy fields.
Including the lost time to clear off debris and water following a storm, lost seeds, lost harvest, the time to replant, and the lost sales at the markets, the farmers in Central Texas are having a challenging spring. The good news is that the Central Texas farmers are resilient and dedicated. In my opinion, we are also blessed to work with the best farmers in Texas, as they remain committed to providing healthy and sustainably produced food for our communities. Now is the time for our community to do its part, and support our local farmers at the Markets as they work their way back to bounty!