SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – The fall is the time where farmers see all of the business from their growing season, but this year’s torrential rains and floods is impacting business.
Farmers are stressed and exhausted after a brutal year of overnight freezes and 20 inches of rain this summer. Joe Calabrese from Calabrese Farms in Southwick told 22News that they are about 15 to 20 percent down on their normal yield for this time of year.
“There’s nothing that you can do to stop the rain. We can’t go put rain coats on all the plants out there,” said Calabrese. “We try to pick every other day to have orders on hand. And since Friday, we haven’t been able to go out there.”
Picking the produce when it’s wet can damage it and they want to avoid further devastating any of their crops, especially popular ones like pumpkins and squash this season.
“All the crops throughout the season, the tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, and all that stuff has all taken a toll from the excessive amount of rain starting from when it got planted in the ground in July and it never got relief from the rain pretty much the whole season,” said Calabrese.
The excessive moisture has brought a soil born disease to the farmers across the Northeast called Phytophthora. Although it doesn’t impact the produce your eating, it takes away from the crop’s shelf life.
“It’s stressful. There’s nothing you can do to control it. You can’t control a hurricane coming or anything like that. So you take the punches and deal with them afterwards,” said Calabrese.
He added that the rain has put a toll on some of the varieties of pumpkins but their big jack-o-lanterns and other seasonal favorites are doing really well. Right now they are focusing on harvesting the fall cabbage and winter squash the most and hoping for it to be dry the rest of the season.