Noteworthy Notes, February Edition

Links and pictures from around and about that impact our Washington life

While New England continues to get buried in snow on snow on snow, Washington State faces a dismally low snowpack year. We're only at 49% and the temperatures continue warm. Lower snowpack equals lower streamflow in the spring and summer, which equals bad news for farmers who depend on irrigation and bad news for folks who eat what farmers grow. 

Speaking of what farmers grow, check out this cool map from the Farm Bureau:

While the view is very high level, it's clear that growing food is big business in Washington. $49 billion in revenue, according to the Farm Burea. Unfortunately, the ongoing port slowdown is impacting our farmers' exports and what they will plant in the coming year.
Farmers markets are still a small piece of the pie, but it was good news to learn that King County will be holding off on raising inspection services fees for at least another year. Proposed increases would have raised food vendor fees by 42-264% and a market coordinator fee would more than double. I understand the inspectors would have to be paid for their time, and everyone likes the idea of food safety, but I do think Americans are a little overexcited about food safety. Visit markets abroad and you'll find unrefrigerated eggs and ambient temperature cheese and such. And I've taken the online course and gotten a food handler's permit, and all I can say is, if you eat at my house you take your chances because I'm not going through all that rigmarole at home.
All of which is to say, it looks like food prices will be rising this year. Plan accordingly! We King County folks do like buying organic, according to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal, but remember--if it's on the Clean 15, save yourself some cash and buy conventional.
Thank you, Environmental Working Group!