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Weather Plays A Significant Part When It Comes To Growing Food

We can all agree that it’s been a late Spring this year. Below average temperatures and lots of rain have us all dreaming of warmer Summer days. The change in weather is also having a significant impact on our local food system. Farmers all across Ontario are trying to catch up from being 2-3 weeks behind in their regular schedule of planting and harvesting.

Farm field flooded with rain

The field at Fiddlehead Farm is seen flooded with rainwater from an overly wet Spring.

Planting season was significantly delayed thanks to soggy Spring weather. Too much rain creates unfavourable planting conditions that hinder farmers from getting out into their fields. “Our greenhouse is backlogged in the meantime, and the seedlings are waiting impatiently to get into the ground as they outgrow their trays,” says Heather from Fiddlehead Farm. To read more about why farmers are careful about when they go into their fields, click here.

Farmer Jay from Danbrie Farm told us he hasn’t seen many bees enjoy the blossoms from his haskap berries. A lot of people don’t realize that bees don’t fly when it’s raining. So our buzzing friends haven’t been as active, and pollination is behind schedule as a result.

Ask any given farmer at any of the 30+ farmers’ markets across Toronto if the Spring weather has effected them this year, and chances are they’ll tell you a similar story about how their crops are behind.

We don’t like to admit it, but these are signs of the looming Climate Crisis. Climate Change alters characteristics of the atmosphere that affect weather patterns and storms. And the weather plays a significant part when it comes to growing food. The ideal planting season begins in late April, so everything is in the ground by early June. Unfortunately, farmers are working on a much different timeline this year.

Beans and cucumbers

Organic Vibes Farm harvested all they could of beans and small cucumbers to bring to Withrow Market on June 15th

Some customers have been coming by the farmers’ market and leaving a little disappointed that there wasn’t more available. At this time in June, we should all be enjoying a bounty of strawberries and rhubarb! Although rhubarb is fairing well for the season and has already been available, strawberries and other berries are just starting to ripen. Farmers everywhere are experiencing lower yields this June, but that’s not to say that they aren’t doing everything they can to bring fresh local produce to market!

If you’re looking for the best selection, we highly suggest visiting your local farmers’ market early in the morning. But if you’re happy to make a delicious sauté or healthy smoothie with the end of day options – you’ll be helping a farmer more than you could image during a difficult growing season! Especially so on rainy market days when significantly fewer people come out to shop.

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