Some farmers inland from Lake Superior had a visit from Jack Frost the morning of June 13. Temperatures at some farms fell to the upper-20s. Jack’s icy fingers touched plants producing for farm-market trade as well as corn and bean fields. That same morning the coldest temperature along the south shore of Lake Superior was 41 degrees.
The south shore of Lake Superior from Chequamegon Bay to Superior was abnormally dry through the Summer Solstice on June 20. While much of Wisconsin has been treading water, some areas along the lake have been desperate for rain. Parts of the area did receive some rain during the last week in June but were still looking for more.
The good news about the dry weather was that it was some of the best hay-curing weather of the past several years in the area. First-crop haying is well along, with both chopping and baling progressing well. Livestock is enjoying lush pasture on many farms.
Thimble berry and wild iris are in bloom, as are blackberries. Wild strawberries are ripe in warm spots. With frost inland and dry weather in places, foragers and wild-jam producers who pick wild juneberry, blueberry, thimbleberry and blackberry are wondering if favorite patches will be barren this year.
By the third week in June area farm markets were operating. Some were late-starting due to the pandemic. All were prepared to provide social distancing to keep customers and farmers safe from COVID-19. Many though not all customers were adhering to simple hygiene measures as requested. Lettuce, beets, eggs, honey and maple syrup were among the items available.
Strawberries are ripening on the Bayfield Peninsula so some were available. Some farms are almost ready for pick-your-own strawberries to go on sale. Those wishing to pick should call ahead or check online for availability. The Bayfield Fruit Loop is coming to life for the season. Green sweet cherries are hanging on orchard trees foreshadowing a tasty harvest soon to come.
As usual one person’s curse is another’s good fortune. Dry weather has some farm-market producers watering, while hay was baled happily at other farms. But hope for the future springs eternal for all as we head further into a promising summer.