When I started Market Day at Eden's on the front lawn of my place in September of 2007, organic vegetables were hard to find. But, that is partly what drew me into turning over the soil and starting a farm out here in the first place the following year. However, in 2011, without sufficient rain, blistering heat and drying up water sources, we're seeing a shortage of local organic (and conventional for that matter) food again. We need more farmers!!
Cherokee Point Ranch, in the grip of the drought, like everyone else, is managing their herd with supplemental hay and alfalfa. I know round bales are going for as much as $200 ea. - and that doesn't feed 5 horses very long, I can't imagine feeding a herd of cattle! I'm hearing more stories of cattle being dumped at auction just to keep the animals from starving - and the ranchers from bankruptcy. Organic fields need rain, too. We are thankful that Brian and his family have been able to keep their herd fed and healthy thus far.
This brutal and record breaking summer has seen farms turning under orchards and throwing in the towel; CSA's suspended or cancelled or greatly lower membership renewals, which means a huge paycut for the farmer; lower yields and losses of plants in the thousands due to the blistering sun/heat and many a pond and well drying up.
Our farm here on the edge of Dallas in Balch Springs, among some of the above issues, has also seen damage by hungry boars looking for food - turning over our beehives hoping for a sweet treat - wild boar in the city! Even the honey boxes were not as full as they normally should be at this time of the year. What a strange summer it has been indeed!
Farmers have always taken the brunt of the risk of doing business so the rest of us could eat. (Which is why CSA is so important to many farms.) Let's come out and support these local producers however we can. Join a CSA, shop a local market, look for locally grown foods at your supermarket and eat at restaurants that buy local whenever you can.
Fall is around the corner and with it, we hope and pray, cooler temps and the ever so needed RAIN! But everyone has to eat before fall! Come shop with your friends at your favorite markets this weekend - and every weekend! Make it a tradition!