Sunday, August 2, 2009

Here Comes The Sun

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Here it is the beginning of August and for all practical purposes, we are still waiting for the sun in New Jersey and most the the northeast. Records for rainfall were set for the month of June and by all reports the weather has been wetter by 50%-100% in some areas. This is contrasted by the excessive heat in the Pacific Northwest which is having an amazing dry spell. Texas is also beset by excessive heat and cattle farmers are having to sell off their herds due to grazing land drying up. Regardless of the region of the country, farmers are struggling to achieve success. The cool and wet weather in the northeast has contributed to a tomato disease called late blight. In brief this disease is killing tomato plants and, in some cases, potato plants. The blight in question is not all that uncommon late in the season, but the 'normal' hot weather of August is usually able to prevent the disease to spread to the extent that it has. And, considering that as of this date it is still rainy and cool, it is more than likely that the disease will continue to flourish. (A historical side note- the blight in question is the one that ravaged Ireland in the early 1800's and contributed to what was called the Potato Famine and led to the mass exodus of many people out of Ireland.)

As two recent articles in the NY Times indicates, the impact of late blight on some farmers has been depressing. While it is encouraged that you read the articles, the articles report that many farmers are losing their entire crop of tomatoes and some/all of their potatoes. The economic impact on these farmers is quite severe as many of these farmers depend on the tomatoes as the major source of their yearly incomes. The articles also discuss that there is not that much that organic farmers are able to do to combat the blight. Here are the links to the two articles- and

At Gravity Hill there have been some tomatoes at market the past couple of weeks. How long Farmer David is able to bring tomatoes to market remains to be seen. Thus, if you want local, fresh, delicious organic heirloom tomatoes you are strongly encouraged to get to market (New Hope, Pa. (Thursdays, 3:30-7:00), Pennington NJ. (Saturdays, 9am-1pm), or Lawrenceville, NJ (9am-1pm) or at the farm itself on Tuesdays, 1-7, as soon as possible.

In these times of stress for farmers, please do your best to support any and all local farmers.They are an integral part of your local community and these small farms are part of the history of America and help to sustain a sense of community. Though these are difficult economic times for many, you will find the prices of most produce at farmers markets to be comparable to what you will find in large chain stores. The window for you to buy fresh, local produce is fairly small, you are encouraged to take advantage of the produce that is available.

The following are pictures of some of the wonderful produce Farmer David, with the help of his merry band of helpers, has been bringing to market.The pictures will speak for themselves.

(yes, purple broccoli)

(New Jersey Gothic- Emma, Malaika, Val, Farmer David)

Support your local farmer. Support sustainable agriculture. Eat healthy. Thank a farmer.

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