Full Share:  Carrots, Hakurei Salad Turnips, Salad Mix, Romaine Head Lettuce, Cabbage,
Sugar Snap Peas, Garlic Scapes (for real this time), Saute Mix, and Cilantro

Partial Share:  Head Lettuce, Carrots, Hakurei Salad Turnips, Garlic Scapes, Cilantro, and Salad Mix

Hello CSA Members!

As a farmer, it’s so hard not to open the weekly newsletter with a comment about the weather.  It’s such a big part of farming, and it’s usually such  a safe topic to talk about. Well, maybe not under the current administration, but certainly during more rational times.  And to be quite honest, I’ve been writing a CSA newsletter 20 weeks a year for 10 years now, and finding original and humorous things to say when one never leaves the farm can be a real challenge. Not to mention, it doesn’t help that Rebecca is always pressuring me to write something funny.

But speaking of weather, I received an email the other day from a writer and photographer who was focusing on climate change in Montana, and she wanted to know how climate change was affecting our ability to make a living in Montana as vegetable farmers.  “Good question”, I said, because I don’t know.  I told her the weather in Montana sucks for growing vegetables.  It always has, even before climate change was a thing.  There is a reason we raise cattle here….they don’t blow away in wind storms, hail bounces off of them, and they can move to cover if things get real bad.  Is climate change making it “more” difficult?  I would think so.    First off, I have a hard time believing that humans can burn 35 billion barrels of oil each year, and 4.3 Billion tons of coal every year, and not think it affects our atmosphere.  And I would hope that most people can see the logic in this basic concept. But I do think many people have a misperception that “Global Warming” is some sort of gradual, linear change in the  climate where  where the world’s weather slowly gets warmer.  Unfortunately, the reality is that while average temperatures are getting warmer, we are experiencing more extremes and more volatility.  And it’s the volatility that kicks our butts.  If the world were truly just gradually getting warmer, then yes, climate change might actually benefit a vegetable grower who lives in a cold climate like we do. I would love to not have to worry about frost in July, or to offer up Avocados in your CSA share.   But there has been no gradual warming for us, just lots of volatility.  Can I blame every wind storm, rain storm, hot spell, dry spell, or hail storm that hits the farm on climate change?  Probably not, because like I said, the weather in Montana has never been super vegetable-friendly.  But I suspect climate change is exacerbating things.  And that is why not all of you will be getting salad turnips this week.

Actually, I have yet to connect the dots between wire worm damage, climate change, and turnip availability.  I think there was something about it on the EPA website, but I’m not allowed to look at it for the next four years. So, all I can say is that there is a distinct possibility that some of you will get turnips this week, but others of you might end up with a head of broccoli, or a bunch of broccolinii.  In general, we are at a point where certain crops are just starting to come into harvest, and it’s usually not a consistent thing.  So we’ve been doing a lot of “full shares get an item this week, and partial shares get it the next”.  This should normalize a bit as we reach the main season, but for now just know that if you feel like you missed on on something in a given week, you’ll likely see it soon.

Turnips aside, the garlic scapes will definitely be in the shares this week, cabbage and broccoli are coming into harvest, another batch of Cilantro is ready, Sugar Snap peas are just starting, and the carrot successions seem to be lining up nicely.  In general, all the crops on the farm are looking good, it’s just a matter of waiting for them to reach maturity.  And some take longer than others.  For those of you new to garlic scapes, they are a part of the actual garlic plant than we pick off at this time of year to encourage more energy to go into forming the garlic bulb.  You can chop all of the scape below the taj mahal looking seed pod, and use it just like garlic (because it is).  The seed pod and whip above it tends to be tough and stringy.  Need some ideas? 

Well, now I’ve gone and broken my cardinal rule of not getting political in my newsletter.  After all, we would be much better off if we didn’t politicize climate change.  I guess I’ll just blame it on heat stress during what is supposed to be our rainy season.  See you at CSA distribution!

Todd and the Two Bear Farm Team