<h2></h2> <h2>Hail - The Extreme of Extreme Weather</h2> <p>Through the course of my regular routine, I spend much of my time traveling and talking to organic growers in Alberta and BC. As a member of the Board of Directors for the <a title=&quot;Organic Alberta Council&quot; href=&quot;http://www.organicalberta.org&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>Organic Alberta Council</a>, I also have the opportunity to swap stories and experiences with farmers and processors across western Canada and beyond. In the &apos;old&apos; days, weather talk was mostly focused on the amounts of rain and sun. However, in the past few years weather talk has started to shift towards hail and heat. Anecdotally speaking, as a growing community we have never seen levels of <a title=&quot;extreme weather &quot; href=&quot;http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-sciences/climate-change/community-adaptation/poster/53&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>extreme weather</a>events like what we are seeing now. The incidents of intense rain, intense heat, brutal hail and field flooding are unprecedented. The agricultural industry feels very strongly that we are the <a title=&quot;bellwether&quot; href=&quot;http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/agriculture.html#impacts&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>bellwether</a> for climate change and that the first major shifts in our weather patterns will be felt by farmers.</p> <p>There is no debate in the organic farming community on the question of climate change and extreme weather. Universally, we believe that climate change due to human activity is real, is happening and is changing our weather in ways that threaten our food supply at its most fundamental levels. Our debate has shifted to the <a title=&quot;best way to adapt&quot; href=&quot;http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/cl11298&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>best way to adapt</a>. What methods can we use to mitigate the risks of the extreme, high energy and intensity weather events that can destroy an entire season&apos;s work in only a few minutes. </p> <p>This summer, the BC Fruit industry went from May forecasts of a bumper crop to a <a title=&quot;near total loss in July&quot; href=&quot;http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/07/24/bc-okanagan-crop-cherry-peach.html?cmp=rss&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>near total loss in July</a>. A month of record rainfall in June destroyed or damaged the bulk of the fruit harvest and this is still affecting us now. Luckily, some growers like our farm in Creston were spared the worst of the rain, but the Okanagan valley <a title=&quot;suffered thunderstorms&quot; href=&quot;http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/British+Columbia/Daybreak+South/ID/2253334655/?sort=MostRecent&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>suffered thunderstorms (audio link)</a> almost every night through the early summer months and this had a devastating impact on the productivity and quality of the fruit being harvested. I remember a phone call with our distributor in Vancouver while I stood in our barn in Creston watching a thunderstorm come over the mountains and wondering if we would have any cherries left to harvest in the morning. Many of you have given us feedback on what you are experiencing as we ship this product to you and we appreciate it. However, please realize that the pressure this weather is putting on our growers is substantial and we are doing our best to support them by buying anything we can and sending it to you.</p> <p>Locally, all of our growers in the Edmonton area have suffered hail damage this year. Hailstorms are nothing new for Alberta, but the volume of hail, the intensity of the accompanying winds and the size of the hailstones is like nothing we have seen in recent memory. Hail destroys greens and brings flooding that can leave crops underwater for hours. This level of damage and moisture introduces disease and rot that can impact the quality and quantity of harvest. Last night, St Albert and Northern Edmonton experienced a massive hailstorm that destroyed nearly the entire crop of greens we had growing at Peas on Earth. Last month, a similar storm took out all the greens at Sunrise Gardens. Last year, an early season hail storm destroyed the entire planting at Halwa farms and wiped Vince out for the entire season.</p> <p>When Miranda and I started The Organic Box in 2010, our mission was to provide a stable and secure market for local organic food so these growers could expand their production, invest in new tools and techniques, and give more people access to their food in Edmonton. We have experienced phenomenal growth and this has been very gratifying for us and our food family. Our core value is focused on providing the linkage between producer and consumer and looking for ways to increase the amount of local organicfood consumed in our community. As a member of our service, you are showing your support for this agenda by agreeing in advance to buy this product from our producers. We are a team working together from soil to dinner table. The smallholding agricultural industry is under pressure and this means your support is more important than ever. We are grateful for your commitment to us and to our program. Truly.</p> <p>Havea Great Week!</p> <p>Danny.<br />Founder, The Organic Box.</p> <h2>Featured LocalProducers</h2> <table cellspacing=&quot;15&quot; cellpadding=&quot;0&quot; bgcolor=&quot;#edf0e9&quot;> <tbody> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><p><img title=&quot;FieldToms&quot; alt=&quot;FieldToms&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/fieldtomatoes01.jpg&quot; /></p> </td> <td><h2>Meadow Creek Farms:</h2> <p>Owned and operated by Mandy Melnyk in Weskatenau, Alberta, Meadow Creek Farms is built on the creed of quality farming and &apos;good food&apos;. While specializing in quality meats, over the past couple of years Mandy has dedicated herself to growing organic vegetables. The Organic Box is very pleased to be showcasing these beautiful <strong>Alberta grown field cucumbers and tomatoes</strong>. The cucumbers are some of the tastiest ones we&apos;ve ever had in our warehouse, and Mandy has been spending countless hours picking perfectly ripe field tomatoes that are so full of flavour it is astonishing. Being field crops these veggies are exposed to the elements and therefore can be oddly shaped or have slight blemishes but do not worry, it just proves that they were grown organically and with the help of Mother Nature. Enjoy! </p> <p>Mandy also helps us sell case quantities of tomatoes and cucumbers that are perfect for canning and pickling. So get ready to break out the mason jars! Woo! </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><img title=&quot;Cherry Tomato&quot; alt=&quot;Cherry Tomato&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/cherrytomatopint.jpg&quot; width=&quot;179&quot; height=&quot;184&quot; /></td> <td><h2>More Tomatoes - Cherry Tomatoes! </h2> <p>Late September and Fall is cherry tomato season and we are very excited about it! They are perfect little treats for salads or on their own. Try them with bocconcini mozzarella, basil leaves, and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar! </p> <p>This week our cherry tomatoes are coming from Del Cabo, a farm co-op that supports over 400 independent farming families in Mexico. They have banded together to educate each other on organic farming practices and the sustainable food chain. As a co-op they are devoted to small-scale subsistence farming communities by helping them prosper and become competitive in the international food market. While producing many food crops, Del Cabo is famous for their tomatoes. Check &apos;em out. </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><img title=&quot;Pmill&quot; alt=&quot;Pmill&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/Prairie Mill(1).jpg&quot; width=&quot;207&quot; height=&quot;141&quot; /></td> <td><h2>Prairie Mill Bakery:</h2> <p>The Bread Man - Owen Petersen - has been providing us with his delicious and nutritious bakery goods since we started up. Specializing in tremendously healthy loaves of bread, Owen has told us he is thinking of experimenting with some new bun recipes, just in time for Thanksgiving! So look out for those in the coming weeks, and in the mean time dig into the famous Nine Grain loaf, the succulent Banana Bread, or a warehouse favourite at The Organic Box - Corn Millet! </p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table>