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Quick warm-up can challenge Central Oregon farmers


Fruit, vegetables and flowers are just a few of the crops that Gigi Meyer grows on her farm just outside of Bend.

The beginning of intense heat in Central Oregon presents new challenges for Windflower Farms in Alfalfa, east of Bend.

“With the early heat there is no doubt we would rather have a more gradual move into summer,” Meyer said Tuesday.

Meyer and her staff work year-round, and she said the unpredictable temperatures in Central Oregon takes a toll on her work flow.

“The fact that we have mid-’90s, and then the next day we could have freezing stuff come out of the sky — it definitely keeps us on our toes,” Meyer said. “We are just watching the weather and trying to adapt.”

Meyer has been in the farming business for more than 10 years.

She said the trick to keeping her plants healthy in the heat is the organic soil matter.

“That does give us some resilience, so when these weird hot weather peaks (occur), our plants are able to cope a little better than farms who don’t have quite the organic matter and the moisture retention that our organically managed soils have,” Meyer said.

Plants aren’t the only things that need attention when the temperature spikes.

“The animals are another concern when it gets this hot,” she said. “All of our animals have shelter, and they are just slow and lazy right now, and don’t want to leave — they want to stay in the shade.”

Meyer said she is just warming up for a busy season of sales and the weather in that season is contributing to her success.

“You know ,it’s a challenge, but we rise to the occasion,” Meyer said.

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