SAN JOSE -- It's not as late as you think.

And for most of us overworked, multitasking, sleep-deprived folks, that's a good thing.

With clocks falling back an hour Sunday morning, the overscheduled Bay Area was able to hit the snooze button without worries. Some vendors at a San Jose farmers market on Sunday said they appreciated that.

"It's a gift," said flower grower Anne Wise, of Moss Beach. Her job is 24/7, 365 days a year. But on one, precious night a year, she crooned, "We get to sleep an extra hour."

Paneng Yang, 17, gets up at 3 a.m. Sunday to make the long, dark drive to the Japantown market from Fresno with her family. Was it any easier this weekend?

She shrugged. "I'm used to it."

File: Children play at sunset in Backesto Park at 5:32 p.m. on Saturday March 3, 2007 in San Jose.   (Dai Sugano/Mercury News)
File: Children play at sunset in Backesto Park at 5:32 p.m. on Saturday March 3, 2007 in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/Mercury News) ( Dai Sugano )

Actually, Daylight Saving Time is chock-full of myths, including the notion that we spring forward and fall back to help folks like Wise's and Yang's families. Farmers long fought the adoption of DST, arguing the change would take away an hour of sunlight at the beginning of days, which was badly needed to successfully get their crops to market. Their lobbying ensured that the United States didn't adopt a peacetime DST until 1966.

Livestock disruptions

And if we're to believe a Farmer's Almanac online poll, 63 percent oppose DST. Farmers contend that they rise for work regardless of what time the government wants to dictate.

And as one Almanac poster declared, "I believe DST is for lazy people. Just set your alarm an hour earlier if you need."


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Another myth: DST saves lots of energy. After the government extended the summer schedule by a month in 2007, it turned out that the savings from decreased lighting costs were mostly offset by increased air-conditioning costs.

Dairy farmers complain that the time change disrupts cows' natural milking schedules. Wise, who also grows brussels sprouts, said that falling back confuses the chickens at her Contreras Farm. Of course, it's the diminishing daylight that makes them less productive during the winter.

Ducks, on the other hand, are another animal entirely. Standard time, shorter days, whatever, they continue laying their eggs, Wise says (although she thinks they're not as tasty as chicken eggs).

For some, it doesn't matter; there's just not enough daylight or time -- and very little savings -- in each chore-packed day.

"Early or late, I need the light," said Ricardo Yerena, manager of Yerena Farms in Watsonville, who was direct-selling blackberries, raspberries and strawberries in San Jose. He'd prefer light in the evening.

"In the morning," he noted, "it's always dark when we get up."

Snooze time

And Saturday night? As late as 8 p.m., Yerena's farm workers were still running tractors, headlights on in the dark, preparing the land for another crop of strawberries.

But how about on his day off?

"Day off?" scoffed Yerena. "This is my day off."

Hummus vendor Jim Smith finds just changing schedules twice a year irritating. He wakes up at 4 a.m. to pick up goods at the warehouse and make it to weekend farmers' markets. Having lived in places that forego the seasonal time shift, he said that makes more sense.

He's not alone. A March poll by Rasmussen Reports found that 45 percent of Americans opposed the twice-a-year time change. Meanwhile, 37 percent agreed it was worth the trouble.

Edgar Cerrillos, 15, likes the extra hour to snooze in the fall but not changing time in general.

"I think," said Edgar, who was selling apples, persimmons and pomegranates from Lujan Farms, outside Modesto, "it would be better if it were just regular time all the time."

Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775. Follow her at Twitter.com/NoguchiOnK12.