Each November, Javier Zamora plants more than 20 acres of strawberries on his organic fruit and vegetable farm in Watsonville, California.
“And then four months later, you get to see people enjoy and take a bite out of a red, delicious strawberry,” he says.
Watsonville is in a cool, coastal region that Zamora says is known for its long, productive strawberry seasons.
He can typically harvest berries from April through October.
But as the climate warms, the weather is growing increasingly erratic. Heat waves and drought can reduce yields and damage fruit. And extreme storms can wipe out a harvest.
“We experience three, four, five years of drought. And all of a sudden, we get double the amount of the water that we normally get per year. But we get it in like one month,” Zamora says.
In 2022, heavy spring rains drenched his farm.
“So everything that we were hoping for to sell for Mother’s Day got trashed,” he says.
To protect his business, Zamora grows numerous crops, so if one harvest fails, he has other berries and vegetables to fall back on.
He says the approach is necessary to sustain his farm as the climate warms and the impacts on crops grow.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media