Our weather is a great conversation starter, whatever work you do the weather can potentially affect your travel, your weekend plans and now what you eat. Our growers are probably more aware than ever of changing patterns in the weather, and we have seen late frosts and a very dry spring so far this year, which has had an effect already.
Watercress growers the Sansoms (a couple in their eighties, who still live and work on Hertfordshire’s only commercial watercress farm) have not seen a spring like it. This week was the first week we have been able to buy from them this year, having finished their previous season just before Christmas. I love to visit Thelma and hear her stories, and she told me it was rare to keep selling that late in the season – perhaps they should have stopped earlier and then the cress could have come again a bit sooner in the spring. You never know what the future holds though, and the temptation is often to make hay while the sun shines! These are the risks of farmers everywhere. A constant gamble against Mother Nature that keeps even the most seasoned growers on their toes. As it stands their crops were delayed by the frosts and then the lack of rain meant the natural springs that feed the beds were too low to encourage growth of new plants.
So far this year we have seen a courgette crisis, iceberg lettuce in short supply and now the avocado market going a little wonky across the world because of the weather, but here at Box Local we just keep looking out for the next available thing, and we always have something new.
A dry spring might delay one crop, but it will also mean there are fewer slugs to eat another emerging crop. Late frosts may delay some too, but a beetle larvae that needed warmth to survive may never make it to maturity to nibble another crop later in the year. Mother Nature will always take with one hand and give with the other, so let’s just wait and see what’s in the boxes shall we?