Weather extremes wreak havoc on some farmer's crops
Published Friday, August 10, 2018 2:39PM ADT
A record-setting freeze in June and then record-setting heat in July have had an effect on crops in our region.
Some of it has been good, but it's been mostly bad.
At the Seaport Farmers market in Halifax, a booth that is an outlet for a large farming operation in the Annapolis Valley and sells mostly orchard crops, was stung early.
Frost hit their apricots, among other things.
“The first picking looked amazing, and the second picking is having a lot of rough spots,” said farm employee Anne Summerhays. “The same with the nectarines having a bit of a frost ring on it. They still taste very good, but they look very rough.”
Overall, it wasn't so bad. The softer fruits are the most vulnerable. This year's apples will be alright, and so will the peaches, while other Valley produce is still in good supply.
Summer tourists seem happy with what's available.
“We're excited to see some yellow plums and peaches that survived the frost and happy to support the farmers,” said Claire Katz.
Winery co-owner Steven Dodge says some crops have done well despite the weather extremes, and others, not as well.
Dodge is talking about a day in June that was a nightmare for farmers all over the Maritimes. Some lost all their crops to frost or torrential downpours.
“The day before was about twenty-seven degrees, and then it went down to minus 4,” Dodge said. “We figure we probably lost anywhere from 70 to 80 per cent of our crop. That hurts a lot.”
Dodge and his brother would have had a bumper crop of grapes if it wasn't for the freeze. A cousin on land next to him lost a season's worth of apples.
“That morning, we were on the phone, ordering grapes out of Ontario, so that we could make sure that we could make wine for next year,” Dodge said.
They're hoping they can still produce 18,000 bottles of wine, just like last year.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ron Shaw.