hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

Business

August 29, 2013

Crops make a comeback

City farms rebound from rough start, have successful season

Local farmer Tyler Kimball’s corn stalks are eight feet tall this year.

Normally, they grow to 12 or 13 feet.

Marlene Stasinos had a similar experience with her farm’s lettuce crop early in the growing season.

“We lost a lot to the wet weather,” she said.

The early summer’s heavy rain gave Kimball, Stasinos and other Haverhill farmers a slow start with their crops this year, but they have rebounded.

Haverhill’s farmers — crop farms like the Stasinos and Srybny farms, crop and livestock farms like Kimball’s, and orchards like Fay’s Farm — all depend on the weather.

This year, the weather during the early growing season made it difficult for them to earn a living from Haverhill’s soil.

Nearly 12 inches of rain in June was followed by consistently high temperatures in July. That contrast shocked the crops and livestock.

“The cows suffered in the wet and damp June, then from the sudden intense heat,’’ said Kimball, owner of Kimball Farm on East Broadway. “They get stressed from the long periods of hot weather.’’

National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration data shows Haverhill averages nearly four inches of rain in June. This year, the city received more than double that amount. Then came the July heat.

But the weather swings have leveled off, the farmers said, giving them a chance for some stronger late-summer crops.

“Everything’s coming back, but we had an awful first crop this year,’’ Stasinos said.

Kathy Srybny-Bucci of Srybny Farm said she will get a good crop of tomatoes this year, but she does not anticipate a late-summer crop to develop because the nights are getting cool, and tomatoes need a lot of warm weather to ripen. Her corn crop has held up, but she does not see a good year for her farm’s beans.

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