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The Ag World is Beginning to Reset From the Many Wildfires

In addition to growing food at Klesick Family Farm, we also source organically grown food from eastern and western Washington, Oregon and California and beyond. Our food supply is a network of local, regional, national and international. While there is a local farm system, our community will always choose to supplement from other regions.

This year has it has been made very clear that America needs to have a more geographically diverse food producing system to feed its people. This was never more obvious than this spring when Covid descended upon communities and hoarding ensued. Our farmers were dialed into the rhythms of growing food for a normal spring season, but Covid flipped the script and food scarcity became a reality.

Making matters more challenging was the spring rains in California and Arizona. At that same time Covid was wreaking havoc in our lives, the weather was wreaking havoc on the “salad bowl” of America, making it impossible to harvest and in some cases destroying crops, at a time when we needed that food more than ever.

Thankfully, the American farmers and food producers weathered that season, and we got our bearings to prepare for farming with Covid in our planning. I will confess that I have no idea what is in store for this upcoming winter flu/Covid season, but our farmers and food producers are, weather permitting, better ready to serve the American public. 

Another Wrinkle

The wildfire season seems to be becoming an annual event that the farming community and other food producers need to plan for. Especially, because Eastern WA, OR and CA have increasing exposure to wildfires.

Wildfires not only destroy communities, jobs, homes, and thousands of acres of wild land, they seriously impact farms and our food supply. In many ways the last few weeks for Klesick’s were very similar to early April when food selection and variety were drastically reduced due to a rainy spring and Covid. With so much of CA and OR on fire, sourcing food from those regions was challenging because available trucking was reduced, many farms were on fire or near fires, and extreme smoke made it impossible to plant, cultivate or harvest. 

As farmers, staying inside is not an option when air quality rises to unsafe levels, we work outside.  Our work is outside.  Another interesting, but often overlooked by the media, wrinkle is that a thick layer of smoke and the ash particulates can ruin fruit, berries and vegetables as it falls to the ground causing crop losses. And do you remember how cold it was during the heaviest times of the poor air quality? A subtle, but real impact to our food supply was the weather change and those cool temperatures really slowed down the growth of vegetables and even caused some to “bolt” due to the sudden change, making the crop unusable.

Because here at Klesick’s we have deep and long-standing relationships in the food industry, and because of the hard work of our awesome team, we have been able to navigate these unforeseen events and keep your Box of Good supplied and on schedule!  We are thankful to be able to provide continued quality food, value and peace of mind to our customers during this tumultuous time.

May this upcoming season bring a breath of fresh air, hope and healing to all of us!

-Tristan Klesick