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Onions Need Rain

September 25, 2020
by Greg Georgaklis

Last Tuesday night, as I was making dinner for the Farmers To You team, I chatted with our Lead Buyer about the onion crop this year. She asked if I thought our partner families would be disappointed in the small size of the onions this season. I knew exactly what she was talking about. Having just chopped four pounds of smaller sized onions, to add to the curry and rice dish I was making. And yes, chopping small onions is clearly a lot more work!

As usual, there are natural reasons behind the size of the onions this year. We had a long dry spell and the heat of this summer, followed by a run of consecutive nights of frost mid-September. One farmer that I spoke with was explicit when they stated that the weather fluctuations were making growing vegetables quite challenging. Onions do not grow to their usual robust size in dry weather (they need the rain) and the frost shuts down their growth entirely.

Ask pretty much any farmer and they will share their perspective of our changing climate and its impact. It doesn’t take a scientist to tell farmers how things are changing. Floods, fires, heatwaves, droughts, storms, early frosts means stress and expense (at best) for farmers and can lead to devastation of their crops.

Crops prefer predictable, consistent, and moderate weather – something that  generations of farmers were able to rely on over the past hundreds of years. Human activity and influence, including some modern farming methods, has greatly impacted the carbon and water cycles that are critical to our planet’s health.

If you are looking for ways to learn about the impact of climate change on food and farming, a new film called Kiss The Ground does an excellent job at breaking down this complicated, overwhelming issue. I am relieved and glad that someone has done such an excellent and engaging job of connecting all the dots. Please watch it and tell me what you think.

We all have work to do. Together, we can create a food system that supports good farming and soil practices that heal the earth. The good news is that we can tackle two things at once – we can heal ourselves and the planet. Thank you for buying food from farmers who care about their onions and you.

With Gratitude,

Greg