By Katy McCoy
Thought I’d write a East Jefferson Co. 2014 “Harvest Wrap-Up”. After all it was the sunniest summer any of us remember, right? Bumper crops of everything! Well yes, but… much to my surprise when I went to “accuweater.com” to bolster this assertion with facts, I was shocked to discover every month actually cooler than normal, and we had a few drops more than average rain! What’s up with that? The only thing I can think of is that the rain was concentrated in a few short bursts and we didn’t have any big heat waves. Just perfect sunny not-too-hot perfect days, one after another.
Regardless, more than ever — the plants fruited, the farmers picked, and we ate. That’s what local food is all about. Below is a sampling of what some of our farmers had to say about their observations this year.
Red Dog – First time all the winter squash ripened in time for harvest. Best sweet corn crop ever. Least blight ever in the tomatoes. Basil and cucumbers were also very happy.
Midori – Well settled into the new digs in Quilcene. Better than expected yields on all crops, specifically the alliums, squash, peppers and tomatoes. The fermented veggie and plant start sides of their business continue to grow.
SpringRain – The orchards they planted in 2009 are mostly fruiting for the first time, giving them 5 new Asian Pear and ~25 new apple varieties to taste and evaluate for disease resistance. They had a bumper crop of raspberries and their largest blueberry harvest to date. As all of their young plants are getting established, they are expecting a doubling of crops each year in the near future.
Solstice – Hugely successful apple crop both in size and abundance, harvested a month earlier than usual. Just about every crop did better than usual. Usually frozen out by now. Lots of return B&B guests.
Finnriver – A record setting blueberry year, both volume-wise and length-of-season-wise. Normally blueberry season lasts 7-8 weeks and this year it lasted 10. For years they’ve had one variety of late blueberry bush, “Elliot”, that never ripened before the rainy weather set in. They were just getting ready to sell the plants to a farmer in Oregon and this year the Elliots ripened and tasted fabulous. Janet wants to know… should they sell or should they keep???
Not surprisingly with all this abundance, local food sales were up. I talked with Will O’Donnel who claimed this was the best Jeff Co Farmers Market year ever, but then added, every year seems to be better than the last. At Chimacum Corner, our 2 fastest growing departments were produce and nursery. Judging by the amazing number of Red Dog and Midori plant starts we sold this year (>30,000 if we count the 4-packs as 4), the farmers aren’t the only ones who enjoyed some bumper crops. Hats off to your gardens too!
Here’s to perfect weather and more local food, whatever the stats say!
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