The 2022 season will be remembered for two things: a serious drought that limited yield, encouraging deer to invade orchards, and extraordinary quality among selected fruits and vegetables, according to a recent interview with farmers at the Lakeside Farmers Market in Greenwood Lake.
“The quality is phenomenal,” said Jim Kent of Locust Grove Orchards. “I mean the apples are a better quality than normal because not as much rain makes them a lot more flavorful; any products made from apples are pretty tasty, too. Although size is smaller and quantity is less, the quality is way up.” The Kents have been farming the fields of Locust Grove Fruit Farm for seven generations, starting in 1820. Overlooking the Hudson River Valley, the Kent’s farm offers orchard fruit. Well drained soils and a temperate climate offer optimal conditions to produce a variety of fruits and vegetables. While the quantity of fruit is reduced this year, the quality exceeded expectations, some farmers said.
Jeff Bialis, of J&A Farm, grows over 350 varieties of ‘Certified Naturally Grown’ vegetables on their farm in Goshen New York’s famous Black Dirt Region. They sell their vegetables at farmers markets, via a CSA program, and direct to restaurants.
“A lot of our summer crops really took the brunt of the dry weather. Zucchini died off because it was so dry, as did cucumbers. We should have had cucumbers going into the early fall. But we have an unprecedented harvest of sweet potatoes; we’re actually almost at full storage, and we’ve only harvested half our crop, even with the drought. Other root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots are beautiful, because I was able to give them some irrigation late in the season for my fall crops. So we have storage carrots that will last throughout the winter. I was also able to keep the lettuce and other leafy greens alive and we did have some rains for them,” said Bialis.
Story contributed by Peter Lyons Hall
Zucchini died off because it was so dry, as did cucumbers. We should have had cucumbers going into the early fall. But we have an unprecedented harvest of sweet potatoes; we’re actually almost at full storage, and we’ve only harvested half our crop. - Jeff Bialis