Whilst working and bantering with SFN posts I have had France Bleu on in the background. I heard an item that discussed the fact that France had produced 5% only of its normal apple crop. Other things have struck me this year. Despite wonderful, an abudance even, of blossom my cherries came to nothing, no quinces, almost no plums, no peaches, few gooseberries, short raspberry season, strawberries few, almost no plums, ditto apples. I was surprised by my hives empty of honey a few days ago and had a response to my enquiry on that subject from Zoe on 'The Hive' group that told me that I am not the only one. I have also called Nicole, our biggest local honey producer, and she has the same problem as me but over 200 hives rather than my handful. The Guardian ran an online article yesterday and today on the possibity of the entire planet needing to become vegetarian because of increasing food shortages.
It all got me thinking, so I had a look at the FAO's statistics on food and its production in western Europe on what they know so far. Wheat is not doing well and the yields are expected to be low, maize is down, other cereal crops have fared little better. Root crops had a wet start that caused rot and then a dry summer that has killed off large parts of the rest. Potatoes are included in that. The rest remains to be harvested, but from the bit I have seen the grapes look a bit manky, blackberries are even think on the bushes and I don't exaactly get the feeling the farmers hereabouts growing sunflowers are too happy either.
It is not a good year. That means much more will be imported and anyway cost a considerable amount more. Here in the west shortages are hardly noticeable but we pay richly for what we do get that others do not. I wonder what we are doing wrong? Is it climate change, is it just one of 'those' years or simply bad luck?