The much-anticipated rain that soaked the Bay Area early this week had soggy residents brandishing umbrellas and seeking dry sanctuaries. But Jason McKenney, who manages a major source of local produce at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills, greeted the downpour with open, thirsty arms.
“It’s so welcome, you can hardly imagine,” he said, crossing his fingers for more as he paced through a particularly parched field where the inch-tall cover crops haven’t come close to their usual 1-foot height. “We’ve been waiting for months now.”
The Bay Area has been unusually dry since the last sizable rainfall Thanksgiving Day. Hidden Villa normally notches 26.5 inches of rain by this time, according to the farm’s measurements. This year, it’s closer to 6.
The lack of rainfall has McKenney concerned for the farm’s harvest, which supplies the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program. A quarter of the bounty stocks local food banks, such as the Community Services Agency in Mountain View, which serves Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, and the leftovers are sold at the summer Los Altos Farmers’ Market or eaten by Hidden Villa staff.
“This is, so far, the driest year ever here,” said McKenney, Hidden Villa’s agriculture manager. “It could impact us fairly negatively. … Our agriculture is dependent on a yearly recharge of the aquifer.”