We stopped by the Derby Street Farmers’ Market in Berkeley yesterday to talk with some of our farmers about how they’ve been dealing with the recent mercury plunge. Both Riverdog Farm and Full Belly Farm in Guinda lost electricity, and had problems with irrigation lines freezing. There was a mad dash before the cold set in to harvest as much broccoli, cauliflower, and celery root as possible. Many recent transplants, too fragile to hold their own, didn’t make it through the freeze.

The general consensus, was that it is too soon to tell what was effected & how many crops were actually lost. Both Didar Singh Khalsa and Catalan Farm said they wouldn’t know for two to three weeks the extent of the damage. And yet, all of the farmers we spoke with retained an upbeat outlook & cheery countenance as is required in a livelihood as unpredictable as farming. Many were thankful for the diversity & resilience of their farms and worried about smaller neighboring operations that depended solely on one crop, where serious damage could completely wipe out their income for the season.

Dana Goransson of Riverdog Farm

Dana Goransson

In all of this, the pigs came out on top. Dana Goransson, the hog farmer at Riverdog Farm said her charges were as happy as pigs in, ur, well in this case, almond hulls. Planning for the colder weather a few weeks prior, Riverdog created some slightly shielded areas as well as wallows insulated with almond hulls, which the pigs also snack on. So they’re basically lounging in a buffet and keeping warm! Riverdog’s pasture-raised pork has been particularly delicious lately and on the menu frequently at Oliveto. To learn more about their herd and see some great pictures, check out the Riverdog Farm Hog Blog.

More then anything, during these cold days and the weeks that follow, be sure to get out to your local farmers’ markets and support your farmers. And eat your root vegetables!