Berry farm has fruitful summer

Karen Wells
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CAMPBELLTON — While the temperatures in the high 30 degree range and extreme ultraviolet rays had many of us seeking shade for most of July, the crops at the Campbellton Berry Farm were soaking it all up.

The largest water storage area as part of the Campbellton Berry Farm irrigation system was down by almost two feet (as of Aug. 7). Philip Thornley said much more depletion of the water and they wouldn’t have been able to use it anymore. Look to the slideshow section of the website for more photos from the farm.

The Pilot dropped by the farm last week to find out from owner/operator Philip Thornley how he managed his crops during the drought-like conditions that prevailed for almost three weeks. The weather turned off to cloud and then rain around Wednesday of last week.

Thornley has been cultivating his 200 acre property for the past 40 years into an ideal example of a berry farm done right. A big part of that work included the creation of a system of ditches and ponds to form an irrigation system. Without a significant source of water, Thornley knew that had to be a priority.

“I can remember going back to the early ‘80s when we had similar summers and that’s when we were building a big part of the irrigation system,” he recalled. “We said then that we have to make sure we have enough water to cover three weeks in July when we have droughts.

“We’ve been through a bunch of years where this heat wasn’t so common, but it’s been an old-fashioned summer after an old-fashioned winter.”

Geographic location: Newfoundland

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