Let’s Talk Heat
This past week, temperatures in Nashville got up into triple digits and I’m pretty sure much of the country is experiencing heat waves (except of course if you live in Maine or Washington – also we hate you). I spent the later part of the day outside on Tuesday running my local Farmer’s Market. After about 4 hrs in the heat, I started to develop a nasty headache. Making sure to drink plenty of water (totaling about 6-7 cups) I still didn’t have to go to the bathroom. My headache was caused by being out in the extreme heat.
I realized that if I’m feeling this way, what about the farmers who are harvesting their food just to be there in addition to selling their wares outside day after day? Not to mention their animals and produce. Heat affects everything and everyone. Oh yeah, did I mention we are also in a drought here. That only compounds the issues for the plants and animals.
So let’s take a closer look and see how heat and drought effect how the food gets on your table.Heat and Local Food:
- Chickens lay fewer eggs when it gets hot
- Cows produce less milk when it gets hot
- Plants can be sunburned just like people which farmers have to then throw away
- Plants start to wilt, brown and eventually die
- New crops have a hard time getting started and many won’t make it
- Farmers have to continually irrigate their crops, and some don’t have that luxury
- Farm workers have to be very careful against heat exhaustion and heat stroke
- Fewer people visit Farmer’s Markets in the summer because of the heat
- Production and sales go down
As you can see, all of these make a very difficult job for your local farmers. On Tuesday, one farmer said he had to burn two of his crops because they didn’t make it. “I’d have a better chance of winning in Vegas this year,” he said in response to my comment that farming is a big gamble. And this was his livelihood.
Just remember that it is so important to thank your farmers this summer for their hard work in this heat, and to continually support them by shopping at your Farmer’s Market regularly. I am thankful to each one of my local farmers for feeding me, and for braving the heat so that I can sit in my air conditioned house and write this post.