It got really, really hot early last summer in the Central Valley. For days, temperatures spiked above 100 degrees, well over the 30-year average.
Toward the south end of the Valley, many farmers had only just planted their crop of tomatoes, and the heat wave hit at the exact worst time. Tomato plants aren’t particularly delicate, but they have limits—especially in their young, tender moments when their spikey yellow flowers bloom.
The result? Many flowers “aborted,” withering on the vine. Those that already had been pollinated simply fell off and produced no tomatoes.