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Grist for the Mill Spring 2013

Dear Reader,

The preparation for our 25th issue of Edible Rhody began a year ago. And as it sometimes goes, it became a lesson in patience for me, a lesson of which I am so often re- minded: that you can’t control Mother Nature.

Well before spring blossoms were blooming I was on the phone with farmer Karla Young, discussing when we could schedule a visit to the farm in LIttle Compton owned by her and her husband, Tyler. Karla gave me a best guess as to when the orchard would be in bloom so we could capture on film the beauty of that fleeting but magical moment in springtime.

And then we waited … and we waited.

Weeks passed and the rebel flowers were still huddled in their steely green wrapping, unwill- ing to unfurl in the wake of chilly rains and cold temperatures. Who could blame them?

Karla and I got to be quite friendly, chatting on the phone several times a week. E-mails. Was I
texting? However we were communicating, the news was still the same: “Nothing yet, maybe next week.”
Quickly becoming obsessed with my weather app, I was checking temperatures, the highs, the lows, daily and weekly forecasts. Light rain would be fine but a torrential downpour just as the blossoms opened up could be devastating to the crop—and let’s forget about the photos.
The same goes for heat. If the temperatures were to suddenly ramp up when the orchard came into bloom, it would wither the flowers prematurely and we might not get our chance.

And what about the farm? The blossoms, along with the pollinating bees, need their time to work so the trees can set what will eventually become delicious fruit.

Farmers live by the weather, and for fruit farmers spring weather even in a week’s time can make or break a fall harvest. Over 18 types of fruit are grown in Rhode Island, most of them from perennial plants and trees that have no second chance—think strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, pears, apples, even pawpaws. Each year farmers who grow them partici- pate in a game of weather roulette, knowing that in some growing seasons nature can be kind while in others it can be cruel.

In the end we finally got our day. Mother Nature cooperated, giving the blossoms their impor- tant time in the sun. Far more important, the bees were active, the fruit set and another sea- son of growing began—the juicy results of which came months later, but not without plenty of hard work—and weather.

I hope you enjoy the fragile beauty of the apple blossoms on our 25th cover, as well as the stories and the other captivating images on the pages of this issue. Now in our sixth year, shar- ing Rhode Island’s incredible bounty with you is still as much a joy as it is an adventure—as it has been for each and every issue of Edible Rhody.

Dig in!

 Genie McPherson Trevor

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