How September’s excessive rains are affecting NJ’s fall crops
Every county in New Jersey has exceeded the September average for rain — by more than 100 percent in certain spots — and farmers are seeing the impact of excessive precipitation on some of your favorite fall crops.
According to Peter Furey, executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, farmers are "a little glum right now after such a prolonged period of rain."
"It's the extremes of weather that cripple the farm operations," he said. "We're used to getting rain; actually rain is essential, but we like it in moderation."
Causing the most distress among farmers, Furey said, are vegetable crops — mainly those that are still hanging around from summer — as well as grain crops such as corn and soybeans.
Apples are affected to a lesser degree — excessive rain could cause them to size up and drop earlier than farmers would like.
"Pumpkins can be problematic because they sit on the ground and they're susceptible to those wet conditions," Furey added. "But depending on where the farm is located and how the farm is managed, they can still have a crop."
Furey said these weather-related obstacles are typically a farmer's headache, not yours. So you can still expect to see a solid supply of apples and pumpkins when you visit your local farm or market.
Rainy weekends have also resulted in less of a consumer rush at these locations, Furey said, so they should still have plenty of their harvest on hand.
In the face of plenty of rain, Krowicki's Farm Market in New Egypt is one of the lucky spots so far. But retail manager Christina Stone knows Mother Nature can deliver some kind of hit at any time.
"I want to see no frost and no hurricanes until after Halloween," she said.
Average statewide rainfall in September is 4.05 inches, according to New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson. Even the "driest" location in the state has seen more than that already.
While September 2018 likely won't rank among the top-10 wettest, he said, a handful of stations have exceeded 9 or 10 inches of rain this month.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.