Monday, June 11, 2012

Local apples? Not this year.

Good morning everyone,

I hope you are all well ... and gardening ... whether on your windowsill, patio, sideyard or kitchen garden, boulevard, community garden, or farm.

On Saturday just past, I, and the woman I spoke to, had a teary-eyed moment.  I'd asked her: "How much of your apple crop did you lose?"

"97 percent," was her reply.

Not, "about 80 percent" or "quite a lot."

This farmer knew exactly the extent of loss her household would suffer because of the early hot weather, followed by cold (-5 degree nights) we've had this spring.  No doubt she could have given a dollar figure too, but this is not something any farmer wants to discuss in a casual conversation with a customer at market.

Southwestern Ontario - most of Ontario - and states all 'round the great lakes have suffered huge losses in fruit crops this spring.  Local Apples, pears, plum and cherry fruits won't be in big supply this harvest season.  80 percent loss is common. The news headline is that Ontario farmers are asking for disaster relief.

If I started on the inter-relationships between local agriculture and international economy, I'd get depressed fast, and would do neither of us a service on a Monday morning.

So ... buy something "grown local" this week.  Or as locally grown as possible.  Buy something at a farmers' market, or locally produced at the supermarket.  If it is organic as well, buy local and organic.  If it comes from a small scale grower, bonus.  If the price seems higher and you can do without a cell-phone upgrade, use what you'd have spent on the electronics to buy local, organic food ... which is good for you, the soil and the farmers around here.* 

From Lyn Ogryzlo's cookbook, The Ontario Table, 641.59713 at London Public Library system

If every household in Ontario spent $10 a week on local food, we’d have an additional $2.4 billion in our local economy at the end of the year. Keeping our money circulating grows those dollars to $3.6 billion and creates 10,000 new jobs.

I've got to remember that figure!!

We won't have any pears from our own backyard tree this year.  We'll cope by harvesting a lot of mulberries from trees nearby we know about; mulberries flower and set leaf far later in the season than other trees.  And we'll figure out which fruit bushes are hardiest in our area, so we order for fall planting.  (the unknown is the increasing unpredictability that will become the norm as climate change develops ...).  This isn't going to replace the all-round apple, but it's a household start.

Slightly disjointed post.  I feel pretty disjointed about this topic, and have a busy day ahead.

Best regards and I wish you a food (typo! I was going to say good) day!

Why's Woman

p.s. I have to put this part in ...It will also reduce the fossil fuel resources used to grow and transport that food.  And fossil fuel over-use has gotten us into this climate change mess that we won't be getting out of soon.  (there's another new report out by Western University professor Gordon McBean, who was a senior member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

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