Thursday, July 12, 2012

So Hot, We Missed A Post

Apologies for the lack of posting last week. Our brains must have been fried from the heat in the days leading up to what was surely one of the hottest Market days ever. There were still beautiful produce and beautiful things at the Market, though (click to enlarge images):

We survived to tell the tale, and in great style. This weekend's weather promises to be cooler, with maybe even a slight chance of rain later in the day. Rain is not usually a word we welcome when talking about Market days, but it's so badly needed by our farmers that we're OK with it.

Don't get us wrong - there's plenty of food at the Market. It's been a booming season for fresh produce, actually, and lots of our farmers irrigate to ensure production for the markets and for local restaurants. But eating local often means we eaters are experiencing food a little differently.

Market sweet corn farmer Mark Schottman told us this over the phone this morning: If you're uncomfortable, the corn is, too. Mark's from Effingham, IL, about 90 miles south of U-C, and they've had less rain than we have. If you've been missing him at the Market, the very hot weather and the lack of rain have made it nearly impossible for him to get a sweetcorn crop together. He's irrigating as best he can, and he's hoping he can make it to the Market next week (7/21), but a lot depends on rain moving in and temperatures not being so hot. 

Moral of the story: The appearance of food at your farmers market, whether it's in Urbana or somewhere else, is heavily dependent on the weather. The corn crop - and there is sweet corn at the Market from Kleiss  Produce and Roth Countryside Produce, but they need it to rain, too - is just part of the story. Central Illinois lost its stone fruit crop to a late freeze this year, and southern Illinois may have its peach season cut short this season due to drought and heat. The weather makes all the difference... year-round.

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