The Certainty of Uncertain Weather

Aug 18, 2012

This summer, I have emptied my garden's rain barrels twice to keep herbs, vegetables and flowers alive during our endless drought. I’ve also witnessed spirited debates between farmers, shoppers, and the occasional know-it-all about global warming.

While my uncle may be a meteorologist, I am simply a casual observer, and what I have noticed is this: Farmers return from their fields with stories of extreme and unfamiliar weather. These patterns affect our food.

Take Alabama peach farmer James Jones. He described to me how hot drought followed by cool rain both accelerated and compressed his peach season. Or consider beloved Asian pear farmer David Hoppenstadt. Thanks to insufficient chilling hours, this year’s crop never materialized. Hang onto your hat, you'll need it to shade the sun.