I just got off the phone to Joy, our organic potato farmer in Crookwell. She’s been without power for nearly 24 hours and their farm is under a foot of snow! It apparently filled the back of her ute to the brim! Lester, her husband, is out on the farm as I write, chainsawing fallen trees that have come down under the weight of the snow. Trees and branches have smashed fences and their cattle are running around out of their paddocks. This came as a real shock so far into spring. Joy tells me her neighbour just sheared a few thousand sheep last week and she’ll be lucky if half of them have made it. Meanwhile the cold has destroyed all the blossom on the fruit trees from Crookwell to Orange – that means no fruit for hundreds of farmers. When you notice high fruit prices in December, remember this snow! Joy and Lester reckon they lost not only all the blossom in their own orchard but a good deal of the trees themselves, weighed down by the weight of snow on their branches. They keep goats too and have lost a lot of new kids. Meanwhile 100s of their irrigation pipes have burst. Joy can’t even get into town to check on her 90 year-old mother, though apparently her grand-daughter is looking after her.
I had to share this story as soon as I heard. Our farmers go through so much hardship to do what they do and yet despite it all they somehow keep upbeat. Joy seemed remarkably light-hearted about it all. She loves what she does and I don’t believe she’d want to do anything else. I often talk about farmers being heroes and this is a case in point. When you eat your spuds next week, spare a thought for Joy and Lester and all of the farmers from the Southern Highlands through to Orange.
I’ll update you all on this story next week when I hear more.