As most of us are all too aware, Mother Nature has been less than kind this year. A wet spring has led to delayed planting and in some cases, multiple replantings. It's frustrating to farmers for sure. I never imagined my grandpa and I would be crawling through the field planting tomatoes, but last week we were. It was too wet to use the setter so it was our only option if we wanted to get the rest of them in the ground.
As I was scrolling through Facebook the other day, I noticed a post where a woman had asked,"Why is there a need for farmers growing corn and soybeans when most people go to Krogers or Albertsons to get groceries anyway?"
I was pretty floored. It took me a few minutes to remind myself that not everyone is as aware of the importance of agriculture as those of us living here in the Heartland.Think about this for a minute — those fields you see dotted with crops are turned into laundry soap, shampoo, cereal, beverages and other products we use regularly. The vast majority of products lining our shelves have some kind of tie to agriculture.
Now think about this — if you don't have livestock (if you're a meat eater) and you don't have a garden, where would you food come from? The grocery store or farmer's market are likely answers. All of those edibles on the grocery shelves have to come from somewhere. Yes, there's a processing facility involved somewhere but the items needed to make the cereal we love, the cake mix we want for a party or the salad you're having for supper tonight are all grown by someone somewhere. At the farmer's market, someone (in some cases me) has spent a lot of time planting and picking to bring those fresh fruits and veggies to your table.
Without the grocery store or farmer's market, I'd gamble the vast majority of folks, especially those in urban areas, would start getting a little hungry.
Farmer's market started Memorial Day weekend. Since then, I've had countless people ask me when there's going to be local produce. I don't have an answer for them. There are quite a few things that factor into that. There's the rainfall, temperatures, unexpected pests, the list goes on. I can promise you, eventually, there will be all your summer favorites but there's still a big question mark as to when that will be.
Please be patient. We're trying, but it's really hard to reason with Mother Nature and it's just not working. She marches to her own drum and apparently this year, felt it was important that we all be reminded of how grateful we are for farmers and the work they do.
Lindsay is logging some field time again after farmer's market this morning. You can follow her farm adventures on Facebook and Twitter @LindsayOwensWTH.