heat wave

Heat and Dry Conditions Affecting Connecticut Farms

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The high heat and drought-like conditions we’ve experienced in Connecticut this summer have had an effect on food grown in the state.

At Cold Spring Brook Farm in Berlin, the owners switched several years ago from overhead watering to using a drip irrigation system that waters the plants right at the roots. With so little rain this summer, they’ve had to rely on that irrigation system even more to try and keep their plants alive, while being mindful not to drain their wells.

“On a 75-degree day, we would maybe water every other day or every three days. With this weather, we water every day and it's pretty much around the clock, especially in high heat, high humidity. The plants are really needing more and more water and they're getting bigger and bigger as they grow. So they require more as they grow. As you get more fruit on the plant, they require more water,” said Steven Bengtson, Cold Spring Brook Farm co-owner

Unfortunately, this heat also had an effect on the overall size of the produce. This year, they’re seeing more medium-sized tomatoes instead of large tomatoes, and their melons and peppers are also smaller. Customers like Steven Hutnick said they’ve started to notice.

“This local farm stand makes me realize how short the process is for the farmers, very difficult,” said Hutnick, a customer from Rocky Hill. “I realized with the lettuce, at the beginning of the season was so beautifully soft and tender and then as the heat came in, it just wasn’t as sweet and tender. So climate. We need rain.”

But this local produce is still worth it for the customers NBC Connecticut spoke with.

“I came up here for fresh produce and stuff like this. It’s very hard to find and supermarkets have stuff that’s kind of like, eh. But this stuff is wonderful. So, I’m really happy,” said Philip Maciag, a customer from New Britain.

Certainly, the customers and farmers said they are both hoping for more rain.

“It makes a huge difference. When we get some natural rain. It just takes a lot of pressure off. So that's what we hope that we get even a storm that just comes through unexpectedly sometimes it's hugely beneficial to us. And that's what we hope for and maybe that'll happen. If not, we'll just keep sticking with it and keep watering as much as we can and just keep them -- keep those plants thriving. That's our goal,” said Bengtson.

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