Harvest. One person said they'd never seen crops dry down so fast. Some farmers have headed their combines to the fields as crops have ripened. September temperatures in the 90s and strong winds have sucked the moisture from crops. One predicted that corn is already down to 16 percent moisture. Another said that it will be the first year ever that they've harvested corn before soybeans.
Those of us in the northeastern part of the state are thankful for the showers that have provided moisture. The good subsoil moisture this spring gave our crops a great start and have carried through until the combines roll.
Farmers and ranchers have invested their heart and soul into this industry. The adverse conditions hurt others in the state, but we know that it's not a time to give up. Those who are facing a corn crop without ears are the same ones who will plant seeds again next spring, ready to handle what Mother Nature hands out. With continued optimism, next year will be better with more rain and better conditions. Is lack of rain better than too much rain? Many have had to mull that over in the last five years.
In the kitchen
Last weekend, I dealt with a counter full of tomatoes, green peppers, onions, apples, celery and beets. For a time there was chaos as I had all four stove burners going, jars rattling and timers ticking. At the end of the day, quart and pint jars of tomatoes, sauce and pickles had replaced the veggies on the counter. And in another hour or two, the kitchen returned to normal.
For me, preserving the produce from the garden is something I choose to do. Too many times, our fresh produce gets tucked away in the refrig and we forget about it. For pioneers who homesteaded here in the Dakotas, what they grew was what they lived on, they didn't have the luxury of running to a supermarket to pick up a few green peppers or an extra onion. When I run across a zucchini in the garden that has gotten too big, I toss it in the trees. My grandmother would have found a way to preserve it in some way - maybe pickles or a relish.
With the talk of drought across most of the country, someone noted that we don't have a problem with too little food in the world; distribution is the problem.
In one of the stories I read, Brad Morgan, Pfizer meat scientist, said in the U.S. annually we throw away 242 pounds of food per person, or about 1,400 calories per person per day. Looking to feed 9 billion people by 2050, he said, We're going to have to come up with technology to double this food production, he said. But we've also got to become less wasteful.
Some of that comes from the outlandish portions served in restaurants. Other waste comes from just forgetting to use food before it is out of date.
The Food Institute reports that food inflation, including the impact of the severe drought in the Midwest this year, will cost a family of four $351.12 more in food spending in 2013 than in 2012 - approximately $6.75 a week. Food-at-home spending will increase about $4 a week, and away-from-home spending by about $2.75, according to The Food Institute.
A breakdown shows most of the increase will be spent at meat counters, where annual costs are seen rising about $44 next year for a family of four. Fresh produce prices will add another $23.44, but processed fruit and vegetable will account for about $11. And for those families eating away-from-home; two-person households will be spending an average $86.73 more next year.
What is your reaction to those predictions? Anyone want an extra zucchini?