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Hutten Family Farm Newsletter for Sunday Aug 21, 2011

     Another day and another crazy rainstorm. This is the summer of the flood. In many ways we are actually fortunate in terms of the weather. Yesterday afternoon while driving home from the brewery market in Halifax we saw very strong thunderstorms from the 101 near Grand Pre. These storms brought large hail and very strong winds to an area around lower canard in the valley. There was extensive damage to apple and vegetable crops in this area. Most of the surrounding communities escaped the hail. We also escaped any damage.
     The rain has been the focus of most farmers here that I talk to. Many people (including myself) are losing crops to the excessive moisture and lack of sun. We have a lot of fall brassicas  (think cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, nappa. etc) that are in trouble. These plants are planted on relatively heavy clay soil and some of them have died. After tomorrow the forecast is for several days of breezy and sunny weather. Hopefully it will materialize.
     Another result of the damp and cloudy weather is the sweetness and taste of some crops. I notice that some of the berries and tree fruit are less sweet than I would expect. This weather makes me a lot less sweet as well.
     One of the vegetables that love this weather is the globe artichokes. They have been really productive this year. Beets and chard and carrots have also done well for us. Cucumbers and winter squash and most of the melons are either really late or just plain lousy. In some ways this is a good thing because farmers love to complain. I am willing to complain about anything but I especially love to gripe about the weather.
     We are now picking the first of the apples and also plums. Peaches are mostly picked here except the canadian harmony variety. Pears will be starting anytime now. Some of the plums have a great crop and some types are a disaster. There was very poor pollination on some fruit because of  (you guessed it) the rain. Overall my own fruit crop looks like reasonable volume. One orchard in particular will have poor quality and will likely be made into apple juice or cider.
     An interesting thing about a difficult crop year is that demand increases because of limited production. We have been very busy at the markets this summer. Our CSA is now at capacity and we are not accepting any more customers at this point. As the fall crops mature I will have a better idea of what the winter season will be like. We will probably only accept new people if existing customers decide to drop out or move away. The CSA has worked fairly well for us and also for the majority of customers.
     Hope you have a good week and the sun shines and the wind blows and the land dries out.

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