Connecticut farms

Connecticut Farms Underwater After Ida

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It’s a story we’ve been talking about for weeks: farmers battling the summer’s record rainfall. For Sub Edge Farm in Avon, it’s the worst flooding they have ever seen.

“We’ve had a little bit of flooding here and there but every year, it’s been getting more and more extreme. It’s been getting worse,” said Rodger Phillips, owner of Sub Edge Farm in Avon. “And this was by far the most water we’ve ever seen come up this high.”

Yesterday morning was a difficult one for Sub Edge Farm. Waking up to acres of crops underwater trying to salvage what they could.

“Eventually we managed to cut a trail through the woods, bring our truck up from behind it with a bunch of crates, harvest what we could as the water was actually rising up to those plants,” said Phillips.

But many of the crops couldn’t be saved. Leafy greens like lettuce, kale, and spinach are now contaminated by rainwater.

“Our beautiful winter squash and pumpkins are now at the bottom of the river,” said Phillips. “I don’t think they’re going to survive either.”

A reality so many Connecticut farmers are facing. Jillybean’s Farmstand in Farmington also lost a substantial amount of pumpkins and has cabbage underwater along with corn with flood water halfway up the stocks.

Some farmers along the Connecticut River fear they may lose their crops if river levels keep rising.

Carl Mahannah from Jillybean’s said, “We got thousands of dollars in fertilizer in it. And seed. And time. It’s really sad.”

And with our changing climate, heavier and more impactful rain events are only going to become more common.

“Really this is just a huge force of unstoppable power that’s heading straight to the farm and there’s not much we can do,” said Phillips.

But before the next storm hits, Sub Edge Farm will try to help mitigate the flood threat.

“Really identifying what’s the most dangerous areas or potentially flooded areas for prevention, we’ve been thinking about maybe dredging some of our ponds to make them deeper so they can hold more water when there’s a big water event like this," he said.

The good news is, produce like peaches and apples are thriving from the recent rainfall. Scott’s Orchard is Nursery has seen their pick your own program boom by 20% compared to years in the past.

“I just got macintosh apples. My husband will be thrilled,” said Debby Campbell from Marlborough. “Especially with all the rain this year, they’re delicious and they’re very, very fresh and they’re well cared for and it’s just part of the joy of coming here.”

And the messaging from farmers all summer long is that the best way you can support them in this difficult time is to shop local. There are still so many great, fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables. And we have a perfect stretch of weather to check out your local farmers' market or farm stand. For more information on where you can find a farmers market near you, click here.

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