I can no longer enjoy a foggy morning without thinking of the Irish Potato Famine. Last year for fun I read Galway Bay , a historical novel that tells the story of the author's ancestors who struggled to survive starvation and eventually make their way to America. In the years of 845 -1850, most of Ireland's potatoes rotted due to Late blight, Phytophtora infestans, which came to their hillsides with the fog. Other factors included that there was only one variety of potato grown and that the British forcibly shipped all of the other food out for themselves, but I digress. Late blight is still around, however, killing off most of the tomato crop last season in the Northeastern US.
Lucky for us, there are no signs of such tragedy in our fields. But, our humid climate does provide a nuturing environment for many fungal diseases. As organic growers we do not use fungicides, which 'sterilize' the soil - killing the good with the bad. A teaspoon of soil has as much as a billion microorganisms that support the plant's growth in many ways. So, instead of killing all those good guys, we rely on crop rotation, mulching, compost and crop diversity. We also tolerate a manageable level of disease in the fields. So if you find a small spot on your tomatoes this week, we hope you take it as a sign that we are doing something right.