Dry conditions persist, despite half an inch of rain on Sunday that came during a sudden deluge. Fortunately, the heat is supposed to break on Wednesday night, followed by a rainstorm and at least two days of cooler weather.
I learned two summers ago -- which was the driest New Jersey summer in at least 40 years -- that dry conditions can definitely change the taste of certain fruits and vegetables, and sometimes for the better. The tomatoes that summer were the best I'd ever tasted. A farmer explained the likely reason:During times of water stress, the sugars in fruits and vegetables become concentrated, leading to stronger more full-bodied flavors.
For other crops, however, heat and dryness can mean early bolting, reduced yields or even crop failure. There's no way to irrigate the corn crop at Howell Farm, and the yield will almost certainly suffer if we don't get some rain.