Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nature is party to all our deals and decisions

Last Thursday began like many others here on the farm: rooster crowing, coffee brewing, vests and hats to brace against the early morning spring chill, and a team meeting to set the pace for the day.

But a breathtaking sight faced our staff when they emerged from the office and made their way down to the fields.

In a freak overnight windstorm / microburst / tornado / giant beast attack, our beloved high tunnel -- just completed this summer -- had been utterly destroyed. A mass of mangled metal, unruly wire, and shredded plastic sat in its place, the chaos a stark contrast to the neat, orderly (completely unharmed) rows of baby lettuce on the ground below.

You can see more photos of the damage (and a video) on Flickr.

Strangely, everything else on the farm was in its right place, no trees down, no other tunnels damaged, rain gauges practically empty. We're still not sure exactly what happened.

In light of recent world events, the loss of our high tunnel is a minor inconvenience, we know. More than anything else, we are thankful that no one was hurt and that nothing else on the farm was damaged.

But clearly it is still a loss -- while it produced nearly 500 pounds of spring mix during its lifetime, it had not yet covered the costs of construction -- and it remains a harsh reminder that farming is always, ultimately, at the mercy of nature's whims.

So, farewell high tunnel. Thank you for the delicious, tender greens you helped us grow, and the food and warmth you provided for us even through the coldest winter months.

Now, on to scavenge the salvageables from your wreckage, keep calm, and carry on.

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