Press-Republican

Local News

August 20, 2012

Weather makes farming a gamble

PLATTSBURGH — Hot and dry is just what a vintner hopes for.

“This year, in spite of bad weather all over the country, it’s been fairly close to ideal for grapes,” said Richard Lamoy, owner of Hid-N-Pines Vineyard in Schuyler Falls. 

“Grapes love warm, dry weather — as long as it’s not too dry.”

Even the cold, hardy varieties grown in this region thrive in the kind of heat delivered up through July and early August.

Lamoy said his vines are producing both more and bigger grapes this year, and ripening is about a week ahead of schedule.

STUNTED CORN

It’s a welcome switch from last year, when Lamoy lost about 40 percent of his crop to Tropical Storm Irene.

“Last year was a disaster,” agreed Ron Pray, owner of Pray’s Family Farms in Keeseville. 

On Aug. 28, the Ausable River flooded as Irene blew

through, destroying 95 percent of Pray’s fields. Most of the pumpkin crop washed away, among other losses.

This year, he’s happy to have the river wet his fields, but in a controlled way, through irrigation.

“It’s been very dry,” Pray said earlier this month. “We started up irrigation about a month ago. This year, it’s a b

etter growing season overall because we’re able to water.”

For Jane Gregware, who runs a small farm stand in the Chazy hamlet of Ingraham, water — other than rain — is somewhat harder to come by. She has the resources to water some of her growing vegetables, but her sweet corn is left to the mercy of the elements. 

There had been “close to enough” rain to get by when she first began filling baskets with corn to sell by the road, but the excessive heat was having an effect on her sweet-corn crop.    

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