HATFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The fall is the time where farmers see all of the business from their growing season, but this year is projecting to be a struggle for farmers throughout the Pioneer Valley.
Bardwell Farm in Hatfield typically relies on it’s revenue in the fall to survive the winter months, but this year, the weather has doomed this family farm.
The whole summer, weather has been trouble up and down the Pioneer Valley. In May, there was an overnight freeze, and in July and August there was well over 20 inches of rain- more than enough to most of the crops.
Owner, Harrison Bardwell, tells 22News, “Things are constantly wet, we’re dealing with a lot of rot and loss of crops from standing water in field and crops just can’t survive and get through rain and heavy storms.”
The Bardwell farm has been in Harrison’s family for 9 generations and over 300 years and Harrison says this season has been one of the most difficult. And the excessive rain has brought increased disease pressure. This year the biggest culprit is a soil born disease called Phytophthora which is hurting farms throughout the northeast.
Bardwell adds, “It persists in the soil and it doesn’t go away. It’s something we have to deal with for life and on wet years like this, the disease comes out and it kind of just ravages through fields.”
The disease is directly affecting their winter squash such as butternut, honeynut, and acorn. As well as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, pumpkins, and gourds. Meaning consumers will see less options and higher prices.
The Farm stressed that it’s definitely going to be a struggle heading into next year but that they’re just looking for support and understanding from the community and their cliental.