March 24th, 2010 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Transition Time
Every year at the end of March most lettuce and leafy green growers, who have been farming in Yuma, AZ during the winter, head 600 miles north back to the Salinas Valley Region to begin the Spring/Summer season. Typically over the next few weeks, lettuces, leafy greens, and salad mixes can easily find themselves in short and variable supply as the season transitions to a new growing area. About 85 percent of the country’s leafy green vegetables are grown in the Salinas Valley in the Spring and Summer.
The good news is that the greens benefit from the cooler northern temperatures giving the product a new life of freshness and crispness. That somewhat tired look that the desert greens have leading into this time of year nicely disappears. The challenge, however, is getting supplies up to speed during this transition. With cooler nights and much more rainfall than in the desert, the lettuce in Salinas tends to grow a little slower than we usually hope for. This is all pretty standard fare for this time of year; it’s just that when this period actually arrives, we all realize that even though we must flow with nature’s habits and timeframes, our customers and shoppers still want an uninterrupted and continuous flow of product.
While harvesting the first crops from the northern region often pose a few problems, planting during this time can create some issues down the road as well. If the weather is wet for a few days and planting can’t occur, then it’s possible, that 6 weeks to a couple months later (even if the weather seems perfect), there may again be product gaps because the continuous flow of product is not there as a result of planting interruptions.
Oh how glorious it must be to farm for a living. It takes a very special and incredibly patient and understanding person to farm. Chances are that if you have any type of control issues, then farming is really not for you. There are many aspects of our life that we can affect and control . . . but weather is not one of them. Here’s hoping for the perfect Spring season in Salinas!