Here’s how local farms fared after this summer’s roller coaster weather conditions

(Southside Daily file)
(Southside Daily file)

VIRGINIA BEACH — There a quite a few local farms here that contribute to Farmers Markets, Pick-Your-Own berry patches and orchard picking, and here’s how the summer weather affected their harvest.

Since fruit crops are generally planted in the fall for a spring harvest, the summer weather will be the deciding factor in how much produce was actually able to be picked up, said Roy Flanagan, Virginia Cooperative Extension agent.

Too much of one kind of weather either way can be bad for crops, he said.

That means too much rain, too much heat or not enough of either can affect a farmer’s overall yield for the summer, he added.

Both Cullipher Farms and Vaughan Farms fared pretty well overall this summer, even though the weather did throw a few of their crops off.

Robert Vaughan, an eighth generation farmer with Vaughan Farms, noted how the recent rain the areas gotten has helped late season corn.

“A little bit of cooler weather would be nice, though,” he said, adding how the heat wouldn’t be too helpful if the temperatures kept the way they were.

The farm actually had a prolonged strawberry season because of the warmer winter and then warmer beginning of the summer, he said.

Vaughan Farms provides the area with sweet corn, snap beans, butter beans, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries.

The heat wave did make a few of the crops yield a smaller harvest but overall he’s confident about the summer’s total harvest, he said.

Mike Cullipher of Cullipher Farms echoed Vaughan’s statements.

“It’s been up and down. The summer started wet then dry then wet then really dry,” he said.

The extremes have not been too helpful for the crops, especially their tomato crops, Cullipher said.

One thing to note is while certain weather conditions may be poor for certain crops, they can be good for other crops.

Cullipher Farms’ sweet corn, apples, peaches and pumpkin crops are all doing well because of the rain, but the tomato crops couldn’t handle that much moisture.

“Overall the rain we got was needed and beneficial but we lost some tomatoes,” Cullipher said.

The biggest thing to note about extreme heat is the nighttime temperatures.

If it’s too hot at night, the crops don’t get a chance to rest which then causes the crops to “self-abort,” as Cullipher calls it.

That means a delayed reaction to the heat the area got a few weeks ago is due soon.

He believes the squash, cucumber and tomatoes may still lose part of the overall yield because of that extreme heat.

Cullipher isn’t worried, though.

The only thing he’s really crossing his fingers for is no major storms or hurricanes.

“I’ve got 5,000 apple trees and I don’t want any weather knocking them down,” he said.

To keep up with the harvest and picking schedules from both farms check out their Facebook pages: Cullipher Farms; Vaughan Farms.

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