Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Risks of Farming

I returned to our family farm this week for my annual summer visit. One of the first items on the Minnesota “to do” list was to visit the local pick-your-own fruit farm, Afton Apple for strawberry picking. In a short time, we picked four beautiful boxes of strawberries, and I was again struck by the sweet flavor and tender texture - so different from the ones shipped across country. When picking our berries, I tried to be a responsible picker, carefully getting all of the berries in my assigned row and even picking off and discarding some of the over-ripe berries that would tax future production. I hoped to return to the patch next week for a second picking.

That very night, storms moved through the area. Three inches of rain, some hail, and high winds hit hard and fast.

I called Afton Apple this morning to check their recorded message about the crop. Gone was yesterday’s cheerful message declaring that “strawberry picking is great and the berries are excellent.” The new message announced that “because of the hail and wind, we lost the crop tonight. . . The strawberry season is over.”

A sad reminder of the vulnerability of crops and another reason that farming is a different kind of business.


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