September 2019 Produce Parable
By Adam Calder
The wet spring we had in Iowa this year is still causing problems even as we enter into the fall months. I recently received a letter from John Wittrig, the owner of J&B’s Chestnut Farm in Winfield, IA, and the news was not good:
“Dear Friends, early on we suspected our chestnut trees were in trouble. Now we’re sure, sorry to say, J&B’s will have NO crop at all this year. The consensus among us chestnut farmers in Iowa was too much rain last spring drowned the roots, so we did not see, nor smell, the normal pollination. We hope for better weather and a larger crop next year. Sincerely, John Wittrig.”
Wheatsfield has sold hundreds of pounds of these delicious organic chestnuts over the years. Scores of our customers look forward to picking up a pound or two of these autumnal treats to add to their stuffing or dressing for a special holiday meal. It is a shame to have to deny anyone such a simple pleasure, and even more so that there will be no profit from the harvest and sale of their chestnuts at the Wittrig farm this year.
As the planet warms and climates shift, rainfall patterns change all around the world causing crop failures like this to become more common. It is important to support local farmers whenever you can to help them hedge their bets against future weather induced crop loss. If Iowa has a normal amount of rainfall next spring the chestnut trees will likely produce a large crop. If we get unusually high spring rainfall, we may not see chestnuts next year either.