Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One Degree of Separation

So I just got back from a quick visit to see my dad in Southwest Florida. As you may know, they've experience a record-breaking stretch of cold weather in Florida since New Year's. In fact, I actually got to be there for the coldest day ever in Ft. Myers this past Sunday when the temperature never got out of the 30's.
The weather was the only headline on the news, and I found it fascinating that a degree here or there could make such a monumental difference. Local farmers had spent the last 12 days agonizing over the thermometer. They covered and watered plants, stayed up all night monitoring The Weather Channel, and prayed to Higher Powers to spare their crops. Yet just when the end of the cold snap was in sight, Mother Nature chose to drop the temperature to the mid-20's in Southwest Florida. Overnight one farmer suffered $1 million in damage, and overall Southwest Florida estimated damage at $100 million. Farmers had not suffered such a disaster since 1989. Peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, and squash suffered the worst damage near Ft. Myers. In addition to the farmers themselves, truck drivers and pickers are looking at several months before things get back to normal. It was eye-opening to see the effect that just one or two degrees in temperature could have on the local economy.
Next time I worry about whether business will be a little slow for us at Findlay Market because of colder temperatures, I'll remember the folks in Southwest Florida whose losses are much greater than ours. However, I'll also be reminded that farmers who've lost it all continue to replant and look forward to better days ahead. What an inspiration to "keep on keepin' on."

1 comment:

  1. You just don't think about all of the labor farmers go through when you're eating veggies. It's amazing that a couple of degrees makes that much of a difference and my heart goes out to the farmers in FL. I'll try to give thanks where it's due next time I'm eating.