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  • 31 Jul 2015

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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Rainy summers impact local farms

So far this summer has been synonymous with rainstorm and some local farmers are feeling its effects on their crops.

At Hartshorn's Organic Farm in Waitsfield, "Rain has definitely been an issue," Amy Todisco said. "It was a big problem for the strawberries," she said, explaining that the constant moisture greatly decreased the fruit's yield and allowed the farm only three pick-your-own days.

Aaron Locker at Kingsbury Market Garden in Warren is also feeling the effects of the nonstop rain. Unlike Kingsbury's neighbors at Small Step Farm in Waitsfield, "So far, we haven't seen any flooding," Locker said, but the rain "has made it tricky to keep up with tractor work and salad green seeding," he said. The rain has also washed a lot of nutrients out of the soil, and Locker is noticing decreased vigor in vegetables—"spinach in particular," he said.

At Neill Farm in Waitsfield, however, "My sweet corn actually looks pretty good," Elwin Neill said. Neill has noticed some stunting due to increased moisture, "and we can see places where the corn is stressed," he said, "but overall, I'm quite pleased with it." Neill expects an 85 to 90 percent yield this season. "It could be worse, given the conditions," he said.

There is some sun at the end of the storm and while Hartshorn's lost a lot of strawberries early in the summer, "The blueberries are doing pretty well," Todisco said. "We were a little concerned that there was so much rain that they'd start rotting on the bushes," she said, but thankfully that isn't the case. Instead, "there are a lot of them, they're big and they just sweetened up."

And, lastly, for the irony of all ironies: Despite all of the clouds and rain, "The sunflowers are doing great," Todisco said.


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