What has been the wettest June on recent record has resulted in some big losses for local farmers. The situation could mean higher costs for consumers.
"Right here, you see it's all yellow." Looking out at his crop of cilantro, John Formisano says it's not even worth picking. "When it's that color, you cant sell that," he said, "it's gotta be green." He says the reason it isn't is because of the nearly 8 inches of rain that's fallen at his Buena Borough farm in the last three weeks. "It only can take so much water. It's like a person jumping in a swimming pool…you go underwater, how long you gonna stay there?"
With his waterlogged fields resembling muddy streams, Formisano estimates they've lost three acres of crops and thousands of dollars. "This June is probably one of the worst ones I saw in a long time," said 77 year-old Formisano. Besides losing these crops, many are also facing another problem, not being able to plant new ones because the ground is simply still too wet. "The tractors will sink."
"It's been tough, it's been very tough, and this is a critical time for all these guys." For grape growers, the rain has presented different problems. "This is when a lot of the fungal diseases really get established and take off and so the problem is controlling them," said Gary Pavlis, The Atlantic County Agricultural Agent with Rutgers University, "you could go out there and spray fungicide for them and then you get four inches of rain and everything you sprayed is washed off the plant."
While this could potentially affect the amount of grapes that's available, the impact of this weather won't be known for at least another month. But for some growers, they already know what wet weather means for consumers when it comes to certain types of produce. "They're gonna pay more for squash, that's for sure, because the squash rots at the ends," said Formisano, "peppers, who knows."
Growers say it's the price they all pay, when Mother Nature simply delivers too much rain too quickly.
Farmers say they need a stretch of at least 4 to 5 dry days to allow them to be able to plant in some of their fields again