Farmers worried rain ruining crops

June 21, 2009 3:43:49 PM PDT
Our recent rains have been helpful for farmers, so much so that some fruit farmers now actually want more sun and less rain.Lehigh County farmer Michael Urffer has had enough.

The owner of Pappy's Orchard and Lisa's Kitchen in Lower Milford Township has had his crops decimated by more than a month of rain.

Even worse, a hail storm that blew through last Monday left his fruit trees heavily damaged and they are now pock-marked with cuts, dents and bruises.

"It will taste the same, it will be good, it's just going to have a surface blemish on it that may penetrate somewhat. People don't want that," Michael Urffer said.

So how bad is it? Well the Uffers figure 80% of their fruit crop is so damaged that can't sell it.

"What we can do with some of it is make it into peach jam, peach butter," Lisa Urffer said.

Lisa says they'll salvage what they can to make jams and pies for the farm store.

Heading south to Blueberry Bill Farms in Hammonton, you'll find farmer Bill Mortillite. He says lots of rain is great while the blueberries are growing, but if it continues, he runs the risk of having them swell and split.

"The plant being wet constantly is our biggest problem. We can't get in there and harvest it. It needs to dry out. I want Mother Nature to let the sun shine, get rid of the clouds get a little bit of wind, dry things out and we'll be fine," Mortellite said.

Back at Pappy's Orchard, Lisa Urffer is trying not to let the soggy weather crush her spirit.

"Farming is not like working at Wawa. Every year we have our challenges, but it's a way of life, it's not just a job," Lisa said.

So the farmers continue to wait for the sun to dry their soggy fields.

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