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Friday, December 2, 2022

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Local farms try to keep up with chaotic weather

AUSTIN (KXAN) – This year’s inclement weather has left local farmers sad. Meteorologist Sean Kelly chats with the GM Swamp Creek Farm Tracy Grayer talks about the challenges she has faced and continues to fight. Located in east Austin, Boggy Creek Farm is one of the last remaining farms within the city limits.

Many local farm-to-table restaurants source their supplies here year-round. Italian restaurant L’Oca d’Oro, in particular, relies heavily on its produce and crafts menu items based on the season and the success of the harvest.

This year has been difficult for Boggy Creek Farm, starting with an early ice storm and a severe winter freeze. The only thing that survived this incident, Greer said, was his spinach. Peas, cauliflower and broccoli were all missing. It wasn’t just his crops that froze to death, but how long those colds lasted and how windy they were. The wind makes it difficult to cover everything.

Swamp Creek Farm

One benefit she added was that the spinach got sweeter.

Then we started our summer with record high temperatures after an exceptionally cold winter in central Texas. In addition to the heat, there is little rain.

Due to extreme weather conditions, the farm’s Omori green eggplant, usually one of its most reliable crops, has not performed well this season. It has not reached a typical size or color.

“It’s always been one of our biggest crops at this time of year…and we just couldn’t sell it this summer. So it really hurts us,” Greer said.

But despite the recent summer heat, some crops did indeed bloom, arugula and butternut squash to name a few. Much of their success is due to the farm’s field wells and the expansion of the rainwater harvesting system. Together, these help it limit dramatic impacts during the most extreme droughts.

Although climate change and more extreme weather conditions are more frequent, luckily so far they have managed to continue growing the same things they have had over the years.

That being said, if this chaotic weather pattern becomes the new normal, there could be a future decision to avoid certain cultures that cannot handle these events.

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