hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

August 29, 2013

Local farmers deserve support from residents

The Haverhill Gazette

---- — It’s the kind of job many of us couldn’t imagine doing.

Up at dawn to milk the cows. Work in the fields until dusk, especially at harvest time.

Hope that Mother Nature cooperates by bringing just the right mix of rain and sunshine, warm days and cool nights.

Local farmers work long, hard hours and depend on favorable weather for their financial survival. Their communities depend on their efforts for fresh produce made close to home and sold at reasonable prices.

Haverhill’s farmers have a work ethic surpassing that of many, if not most people. In this former city of farms where fields of crops once dotted many of Haverhill’s 35 square miles, today’s farmers keep the community’s agricultural heritage alive.

Places like Kimball Farm on East Broadway and Stasinos Farm in Bradford faced a big challenge early this growing season. June brought too much rain. July was too hot and dry. (See story, Page 1.)

That combination caused crops to struggle. Corn stalks failed to grow to their normal height. Fruit fell off wilting trees earlier than normal. Livestock struggled in weather that was too wet or too dry and hot.

But the farmers worked their way through those tough times, and now things are looking up. And thankfully, Mother Nature has begun to cooperate. Warm, sunny days and cool nights with a healthy mix of rain has crops in the latter part of the growing season thriving.

The farmers are preparing to cash in on their harvests, whether selling produce at their own stands or the city’s farmers market, which is open every Saturday downtown.

That’s where the public — their friends, neighbors and acquaintances — comes in. People can reward local farmers’ hard work and dedication by being loyal and buying locally.

Besides providing shoppers with some of the freshest food around, it will also bring a thank-you to farmers, a reward for their efforts.

They deserve that much for weathering their own personal storm.