Farmers lament effects of long, snowy winter
Buyers and sellers were busy at the Tilton Winter Farmers Market on Saturday. (DAN SEUFERT/Union Leader Correspondent)
The long winter and lingering snowpack are causing problems and costing them money, the farmers said. At every table, farmers had the same, solemn reaction when asked about the past winter.
All said spring planting of crops will be delayed, some said by as much as a month. Late April greens and grains will not likely be available until May this year, and local meat production will be slowed.
Those raising animals still have them in barns, as there is no leftover fall grass or brush for food.
Luke Mahoney of the 400-acre Brookford Farm in Canterbury estimates a three-week delay for his crops.
Eric Sawyer of Spring Hill Farm in Sanbornton said his regular April planting of potatoes and spring greens will be delayed, as will preparation of his fields for other crops. And though most people think of mud season in reference to dirt roads in the spring, farmers have a mud season after the winter snow melts. That's cause for worry this year.
Fred Martin, a beekeeper and owner of Carriage Hill Honey in Wolfeboro, said beekeepers always lose hives in the winter to the cold. But this winter, he's lost half of his hives. Worse yet, the resuppliers of bees and hives in southern Atlantic states lost a lot of bees to the bad weather there, Martin said.
Howe said his 60 acres of fields won't be ready for crop planting on time, but fortunately he has a lot of greenhouse space. He will pay more this year in labor and upkeep costs to grow hundreds of plants indoors.
"The nice thing is the snow insulated and protected things like strawberries and parsnips, so the deer haven't been eating them," he said.
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