By Adam Calder, Produce Manager
The unseasonably warm and wet spring has been somewhat of a mixed blessing here in central Iowa. The heat and heavy rains have caused many muggy days and wet basements, but that weather has also been great for local produce.
We’ve got local raspberries from The Berry Patch, flower bouquets from Meadowlark Flowers, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow summer squash, red beets, red chard, rainbow chard, winterbor kale, lacinato kale and cilantro all from Flint Ridge Organic Produce, grape tomatoes from Salama Greenhouse, red slicer tomatoes, gold tomatoes and cherry tomatoes from Hassevoort Fam, our usual assortment of fresh herbs from Mariposa Farms and micro greens from Organic Greens.
The warm spring caused this year’s asparagus crop to come up fast and early, which meant we got a head start to enjoying delicious Iowa asparagus. Alas, the early start means an early end to the asparagus season. We’ve received our last delivery from Iowa Asparagus LLC for the 2018 season, but we ordered extra so we have enough to last a couple of weeks. After that, we will have to switch to the California or Canadian asparagus crops.
The hotter weather also means a less steady and predictable supply of produce from Lee’s Greens. The spring mix and baby greens grow better when the nights are cool and the days are mild. When it gets too hot, lettuce and spinach tend to bolt and get a bitter flavor. Rather than try and grow inferior product during these hot months, Lee’s Greens instead grows plants that thrive in the hotter temperatures.
This is just the beginning of the local season. Stay tuned for local blueberries, black berries, green cabbage, red cabbage, green onions, eggplant, bell peppers and more to come in the summer months ahead.