Waves of torrential rain and withering heat this summer have made growing and harvesting food more unpredictable for farmers in New York.
“This weather has been just horrid to deal with,” said Craig DeVoe of DeVoe’s Rainbow Orchards in Halfmoon. “You don’t know when a curveball is going to get thrown at you.”
A cold and snowy April put growers behind in their planting schedules, which is why some crops may not be ready now, said Steve Reiners, chair of the horticulture section at Cornell University.
Hot temperatures in July put stress on plants, affected the pollen of fruits and vegetables and caused some products to be cracked or misshapen, he added.
“We’re seeing more extremes all the time in our weather,” Reiners said. “We don’t have an average year anymore.”
In Brunswick, Ed Engel should be harvesting his tomatoes by now. But they’re not ripe, and blight has ravaged many of the plants.
It used to be that Ed could fill dozens of baskets with tomatoes quickly, but now it takes several hours to fill 12.
His sweet corn has been affected too, and while he’d ordinarily be cutting cabbage this time of year, that’s not ready either.
“It’s just a strange year,” said Ed. “Nothing’s right.”