This story originally appeared in The Guardian and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.
April 15. That’s the traditional frost-free date in Schochoh, the small community in south-central Kentucky, where Sam Halcomb and his family own and operate Walnut Grove Farms. Before then, the soft red winter wheat that Halcomb grows, which finds its way into McDonald’s biscuits and grocery store pancake mixes, is flowering and especially vulnerable to cold. The frost-free date is an estimate, based on years of experience. If you make it past that date, you’re likely to have a healthy harvest.
This year, a freeze came on exactly April 15, with early morning temperatures dropping into the mid-20s Fahrenheit. “We were all smacking our heads, saying, ‘Ah, we almost made it,’” Halcomb said. Then, on May 9, another freeze hit.
Two late freezes in one season was “completely unheard of,” said Halcomb, a sixth generation farmer. “In my whole life, I don’t remember ever having a free... Read more