Local farmers wrestle with a wet start to the growing season

Local News

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Local farmers are hoping summer will be drier and sunnier than spring was.

At Amos Zittel and Sons Farm in Eden, the peppers are practically swimming in rainwater. “And if that stays that wet too long, what’ll happen is you’ll get disease and those peppers won’t make it,” said Dave Zittel. “So we’re actually trying to answer the problem right now. Things like cabbage and broccoli and things like that for right now are okay with the wet weather as long as it’s not sitting in we weather there’s no crop that likes this.” 

At Becker Farms in Gasport, the pick your own strawberry season has finally begun, about two weeks late. “I can’t really remember when it’s been this challenging,” said Melinda Vizcarra. “It’s been so cold and rainy that there’s never enough days in a row to have enough ground dry out, so you can plow it and plant it, so just as it gets good to plant, it rains again.”

While the wet weather clearly delayed the strawberry picking season, it will also extend it by a couple weeks into July, which is rare, according to Oscar Vizcarra, at Becker Farms. “We haven’t been able to plant pumpkins. We haven’t even started with pumpkins, which should be done by now. Corn, as you can see, the fields are bare. They haven’t even germinated because it’s cold. We haven’t gotten to eighty degrees, or very seldom do we get eighties, so everything is behind.”

Melinda Vizcarra stressed the importance of public support. “Agriculture is New York State’s number one business, but we do need to have our citizens support the local farmer. We’re lucky that we live in a region that can grow such a diverse variety of fruits and vegetables. We just need the support of the public.”

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