Location: Blue Moon Organics, Aptos, CA
Featuring: Greg and Patrick
Dry farming involves growing crops without irrigation to supplement rainfall. This results in lower development costs for the farm. No wells need to be dug, no water rights or permits are needed, and there is no need for irrigation lines. The result, a more enhanced flavor, but lower yield — the yield is related to the amount of water and fertilizer used.
Greg and Patrick first plant their early girls in mid-April. The starts are only watered once or twice then left on their own, though weeds and pests must still be managed. I ask Greg if he dry farms to conserve water, save streams, and preserve salmon habitat and he says: “There are all kinds of ecological and environmental reasons to dry farm, but people pay for flavor — and even then it’s hard to get them to pay enough. I’ve seen a ton of farmers irrigate through the daylight hours in 40 mph winds, losing half their water to wind. I’ve also seen Fish and Game shut down farms for salmon protection in streams which could never support a native population.”