Patching together crops after rains

MONROEVILLE, NJ - September 18, 2009 Not a single pumpkin is fit for sale.

George Cassaday lost his pumpkin field this fall, because a nearly constant stream of rainfall kept the gourds wet, allowing mold an ample opportunity to attack.

Pumpkins are a high-risk, high-reward crop. Farmers can make a good profit, but plants that are close to the ground are more disease-prone in wet weather. That's why Cassaday Farm diversifies, with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

"The squashes, peppers, tomatoes, the perishable stuff hasn't fared very well. Some of it is a complete loss," Cassaday said.

One of the bright spots that came out of all the rainfall is Cassaday's sweet potato crop. It's not just sweet potatoes, the sweet corn is the best it's been in years.

Cassaday's employees are hard at work, sorting and packing the bumper crops.

They'll get shipped to farm stands and grocery stores as far away as Canada.

Even though this year isn't a total loss, Cassaday is still hoping for better luck next year.

"Farming's nothing but a crap shoot. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have planted pumpkins at all," Cassaday said.

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