Should We Postpone Fall?

Samantha Scibelli, Reporter

Fall is such a great season. The leaves begin to fall, and the weather gets cooler. Some of the best activities of this time of year are apple picking and pumpkin picking. You may have to cross these things off your list. This year isn’t looking too great in terms of farming.

The apple crops were the least impacted by Hurricane Irene’s wrath. Labor Day weekend is the beginning of apple-picking season. This means most trees weren’t ripe yet. These unripe apples are held more securely to the trees. Unfortunately though some apples did wind up on the ground, but it wasn’t as bad as anticipated.

As for the pumpkins, they weren’t as lucky. Even before the storm the pumpkins were having a hard time. The spring full of heavy rains postpone the planting of the pumpkins. This would mean a late harvest for the pumpkins which is bad because the prime buying time is before October 31st. The 10 inches of rain before Irene caused phytophthora fungus. This is a type of water mold. Then Irene hit and really killed the crops. It flooded them out. A farmer from upstate had his crop of 15,000 to 20,000 pumpkins washed into a lake.

New York isn’t the only area with these problems. Farmers have tried to buy from places nearby such as Quebec, but find nothing. The whole east coast is being affected by a pumpkin shortage, and the shortage of other crops. So if you are planning on traveling to get pumpkins I would suggest going to places like Illinois and Michigan. They weren’t affected by this storm. They are selling their pumpkins to us.
If you happen to find a farm with pumpkins be aware the price has gone up. A bin of pumpkins which holds around 40 pumpkins costs $150 to $200 dollars. That’s twice the normal price. A single pumpkin could go for as much as $15 dollars. This is the season where farmers get their best business but it might be ruined because of the storm.

Squash is also being affected by the water mold mentioned before. The corn crops were flattened by the wind and rain. This means the corn mazes are ruined. Some farmer’s corn didn’t even grow because the rain prevented pollination.

The fall season is when the farmers make most of their money. They make about half their income during the autumn season. A ruined pumpkin crop means no tourists which mean a huge loss in business for farmers. The storm damaged every crop from corn to cauliflower. In Suffolk County alone 1,000 acres of pumpkins and 1,600 acres of sweet corn are grown. Suffolk County is third in state vegetable production. That is a lot of farms that most likely won’t be compensated for their losses.