The fresh vegetables for sale at the St. John’s Farmers’ Market on Saturday certainly looked above average, but about average was the grade some of the farmers there gave the past growing season, overall.
© — Photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram
Paulette and Bob Brake of Hummock Farm in Kelligrews stand by their produce at the St. John’s Farmers’ Market Saturday.
“It was fair,” said Bob Brake of Hummock Farm in Kelligrews.
His fava beans, squash, carrots and potatoes all did well. But farming is a tricky business, and while it may have seemed like a great summer to most people, things are different on a farm.
“The trouble with weather here in Newfoundland is you get too much of one and not enough of the other. You don’t get them in sequence.”
When it rains, it pours, and when it goes dry, it stays that way for a month, said Brake.
Still, he called it a good production year overall.
Karen Durfey with Ripple Trail Farm in Markland had an issue with moose taking a liking to her growing crops before they could produce.
“Our farm has been overrun this year with so many,” she said.
That farm has an electric fence around its cabbage and beets because they’re known to be favourites of moose, but the ungulates went after a few crops they don’t normally have a taste for. Her turnips germinated well, but once they got up six inches or so, moose took off the leaves and came back for the stalks. They also went after the parsnips.
“Which I’ve never seen them eat before,” Durfey said.
With fall now full on, hunters on their land have taken care of the moose problem.
A moose favourite — cabbage — did well in certain parts of her farm, although in low-lying, wet areas snails and slugs took their toll.
Byron Smith of Homestead Farm, also in Markland, said his year was average or maybe slightly above. The weather was good for his crops, he said, but that unfortunately meant it was good for the weeds, too.
Despite the farmers’ grade of the growing season, an average year still produces some mighty fine crops.
What was for sale Saturday at the market was proof.