ADAMS, M.A. (NEWS10) -Farms in the Bay State have been at a disadvantage this year due to weather conditions. Farmers are looking for ways to make up for lost profits and nurture what is still growing.
Specializing in exotic peppers, Steve Melito started Cole Mountain Farm as a hobby during the pandemic. With this being their first year as a business, Melito pulled the trigger on planting too soon.
“They say don’t plant until Memorial Day for a reason. We planted some crops sooner because the weather had been nice. Turned out not to be that way,” explained Melito.
According to the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, a deep freeze in February followed by a May frost are to blame for the stunted plants. For orchards in the area, fruit pickers may be out of luck come fall. “None of our fruit trees, which we also have, have any fruit. There are no buds or flowers,” said Melito.
The bureau has also reported torrential downpours, the opposite of last year’s drought. Farms such as Natural Roots have been hit hard by flooding. Farm Manager, Brittany Terry, says the conditions this year have caused multiple losses.
“Four acres and around 95% of our crops wound up under flood water. We did lose a number of chickens. Some of our equipment we were able to locate downstream,” described Terry.
The USDA is offering low interest loans for farmers in need of aid. Terry says thanks to the support of their customers and other farmers, they are able to figure out a plan forward. “We have successfully raised the initial $85 thousand that we were looking to cover the basic losses and expenses. We’ve been asking other area farms that were not affected by the flooding to donate any excess crops.”
Even with the year looking bleak for these farmers, they won’t be putting away their green thumbs any time soon. “Its been disappointing. This was a year that we were really going to ramp up for the first time, but Mother Nature had other plans,” stated Melito.