THE SUMMER OF NO WATER
By MARY ANNE
Even though Willits has
water in its reservoir, the outlying areas are quickly running out of water.
Every day I hear stories about someone who no longer has water, and even at my
home where we have good springs the water has slowed down to an alarmingly low
output. We had some rain in Northern California, but most of the state is
experiencing the driest year in history. With water allotments from the Federal
government at an all- time low, many farmers have chosen to let their crops go
this season. As we move into the hottest part of the summer, we are likely to
see hikes in food prices and the unavailability of some California grown
produce. Most affected are tree fruits and tomatoes. We have seen several gaps
in watermelon production as well.
On the positive side, the
lack of moisture has meant a quality year so far for stone-fruit, which often
suffers from mold, brown rot, and other disease in wet years. The peaches and nectarines are super juicy
and mostly sweet, with little propensity to break down. The apricots were
excellent. We sold nearly 100 cases. The pesticide- free peaches from Patterson
have been especially delightful. Remember the O’Henry peaches are due in the
first week of August. There is some concern about the quality of the late
fruit, but it’s a “wait and see situation” about which we will keep you
informed. Our sandwich board on the street will announce the arrival of the
peaches. During the next month we will have a constant supply of pesticide-free
freestone peaches and nectarines. Check in our produce department.
The cherry crop this year
was most disappointing. The California crop was damaged by wind and was very
pricey and extremely limited. Also, quality and size were down. The Northwest
crop was better, but not as good as in other years. There is still a chance to
get a few cherries if this is a favorite of yours. Other items to note: sweet
potatoes are still out of season with high prices,; lemons are going up but
limes should be coming down in price; new crop potatoes are filtering in;
onions are in season now; avocados are
going up in price; turmeric root will be out of season until December.
Nan, the buyer for our
gift section, is temporarily out on disability. In the interim, Dena Shuster is
taking over that department. If you have questions, orders, or ideas about the
department, or if you are a vender of gift items, please direct your inquiries
to Dena. She will be here on Nan’s schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
As the summer rolls on,
be aware of the water issue. We may again be asked to conserve on water here in
town. Mulch your gardens well, and try to water in the evening when there is
less evaporation. And pray for rain.