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Farmer’s Journal

It’s Friday before Mother’s Day and I can’t believe I am pulling out my Carhart jacket for tomorrow’s plant sale rather than a t-shirt for this time of year. Earlier this week I was included on a text thread between my brother and our farm manager. My brother was so relieved after hearing this weekend’s forecast that we hadn’t planted our warm weather veggies yet. At that moment our manager had just arrived back to the farm with all our tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers and was firing up the tractor to get started planting. His response, “are you serious?” was classic. Instead of planting we switched gears to create our own temporary greenhouse and keep all our baby plants alive until we get through several risky nights. Things are certainly off to a slow start at the farm in a state of near suspended animation. Everything is plowed and tilled but it seems we are either waiting for the soil to dry out or for temperatures to warm up. Due to the weather we are about three weeks behind schedule. The only thing that seems to be growing fast is the grass. We are supplementing our farm shares by heading down south to the northern neck of Virginia and even North Carolina for strawberries. However this weekend even the southern mid-atlantic is braced for a freeze which will certainly impact our supply. Our next batch of strawberries were produced in a greenhouse.

Polar vortexes, cool and cloudy weather, and coronaviruses are making this a tricky season to say the least.  It’s interesting to see how interconnected things are including farms. Large commercial growers in Florida are unable to harvest due to labor shortages related to Covid-19. There are frost warnings all up and down the east coast this weekend and we are even mentally preparing ourselves for a few snowflakes. These factors are creating shortages in supply on a national level and are driving up market prices locally as we have discovered while attending Amish farm auctions in Pennsylvania where we are seeing high tunnel tomato prices skyrocket. However we are still staying positive and hopeful. When the sun does eventually decide to come out we will be ready and able for this season to kick in. I would like to reassure our CSA Members that Norman’s is committed to providing you with the freshest and best quality local produce we can source either from our farm or other local partners. We have been in the produce business for over thirty years and fortunate to have strong connections with lots of growers so we believe that you are in good hands with us this season.

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