Even in Canada, California supplies a good bit of our fruits and vegetables, especially in the off season.
We feared for supply - and cost - while California farmers endured six years of severe drought. You may have heard that California's drought has recently been declared over, the result of torrential winter rains that hit the state this year.
About those rains. They are directly linked to climate change and in more than one way. Now we're getting an object lesson that too much rain can be almost as bad as none at all when it comes to the food supply.
January's monster storms and flooding in California inundated farmlands up and down the state, dealing a blow to crops of vegetables, citrus and nuts.
While the series of tropical storms benefited some drought-stricken areas of the state, the heavy rains brought flooding to vineyards in Northern California and harvest delays further south for vegetable growers. Some citrus and nut growers were hurt too, including the loss of trees during strong winds.
"For many of our farmers, it's difficult to get in to plant or they have crops in the ground that are hard to harvest because the fields are muddy," said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, a California-based trade group representing farmers and their workers who grow about half of the nation's fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts.
Here in Canada, the California deluge is reflected in soaring prices for lettuce and other leafy green produce if you can find them at all.
It reminds me of an account I read a few years ago about a semi-nomadic herdsman, a pastoralist, in the sub-Saharan Sahel of Africa. Many generations of his family had made their living in that ancient way. Then, in the span of just two years, that all came to an end. Flash floods claimed half his herd the first year. Severe and sustained drought took the remainder the following year. The herdsman was left with no option but to gather up his family, leave the land, and to try to eke out some subsistence living in the city.