Unless you happen to man a soda stand at Disneyland, the side effects of 2012 being a leap year probably aren't tops on your back-to-work frustration list (For the Mickey Mouse lollipop obsessed: The theme park is staying open 24 hours on February 29). And for many farmers who sell their produce at area markets, February 29, which falls on a Wednesday, actually comes with a bonus -- an extra day of kale sales.
But as we learned while exchanging New Year's well wishes at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market, leap year also has some bitter green side effects this year. "Oh, no, Mark, I just realized that 2012 is a leap year," Maryann Carpenter of Coastal Organics announced gravely to her son, Mark. Carpenter was thinking ahead to next Christmas and New Year's Day. Due to the leap year, they both fall on a Tuesday.
For small farms that sell their produce at only one or two farmers markets weekly, the calendar date of any given holiday is often problematic. Those last few weeks of the year tend to bring in the high volume sales as restaurants typically increase their orders during the holidays. Larger farms that attend numerous markets each week can simply skip one market that doesn't fit their holiday schedule, but for smaller farms, that's tricky business. "But we can't ask our pickers to work on Tuesday, Christmas Day, just so we can be at the Wednesday market," continued Carpenter. Coastal Organics only sells at the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Monica markets, with the bulk of their business to wholesale customers. "We will just have to figure something out."
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Well, just in case, 2012 might be just the year to increase your local pickling efforts. Besides, what better way to impress your friends next New Year's Eve than with a Groucho Marx impersonation (per those Master Food Preservers reader comments) complete with a homemade pickle mustache?
More from Jenn Garbee @eathistory + eathistory.com