Weather's Growing Pains; Farmers Adapt to Climate Change

By Quaye, Mercy | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), July 24, 2012 | Go to article overview

Weather's Growing Pains; Farmers Adapt to Climate Change


Quaye, Mercy, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


April showers usually bring May flowers, but this year, the flowers came early. Strange weather across the state and country has many farmers adapting to a severely changing climate.

In Madison, a family of farmers pulls out a vegetable stand to the side of the road daily. Though Cole Farms had corn spouting up to two weeks early, they've managed to navigate the weather with some success.

"Everything is ahead of schedule this year," said Dan Cole, co- owner. "We've adapted to it by planting corn later in the season, and doing multiple plantings. If we don't do it this way we'll have nothing for the rest of the year."

Hard work and the ability to bounce back has helped the crops.

"The soil was very packed in early spring," Cole said. "We got some rain in April and the ground loosened up a bit, but just getting into it was a chore."

Farmers in Guilford have a similar concern. The extremely dry weather for most of the season has made it difficult for crops to get enough water to survive. Farmers have adjusted to the arid conditions of summer by using sprinklers and irrigation.

Bishop's Orchards has been doing well so far. With 320 acres, the orchard produces peaches, strawberries and apples, among other fruits and vegetables.

"Besides the lack of rain during the summer we didn't have much to worry about," said Jonathan Bishop, co-owner. "Unless you were in an area that got frosted out this spring, you probably made out well."

For many, March brought more harm than December did.

"Winter didn't affect our crops as much as we thought it would," Bishop said. "Right now, it's all about knocking on wood and keeping our fingers crossed."

The orchard is seeing promise for the peach and blueberry season. Storms that came in mid-spring, that brought hail and strong winds, didn't damage the crops too badly, he said.

"Some of our tree-fruit crops were frozen out in April," Bishop said. "Apple and pear trees basically thought it was time to flower, and then we got random frosty nights."

George Hindinger, owner of Hindinger Farm in Hamden, said it's "nice to have a good start. …

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