Local farmers forecast great harvest
© Andrea Gunn photo
Farmer Chris Oram shows off his impressive corn crop. Where too much rain plagued the farm last year, sunny, warm weather has brought a great farming season in 2012.
Abnormally high temperatures, lots of sun, and little rain has been what the summer months have brought much of Newfoundland and Labrador this year.
But it's not just eastern Canada feeling the heat; the seemingly continent-wide increase in temperatures has been resulting in droughts for farmers in many parts of Canada and the US.
In fact, according to several national media outlets, this drought could affect food prices across Canada, raising them 3-4 per cent in 2013.
But that is not the case in central Newfoundland, according to one farmer.
Chris Oram has been running his family's farm, located off Newbay Road in Grand Falls-Windsor, for the past few years. He sells his crops at Mark's Market, which the family runs on the property during the late summer and fall months.
According to the young farmer, this year has been a dream for the crops.
He said all the produce he grows on the 100-acre farm, from corn to zucchini, have benefited from the hot, humid weather this summer.
“This year the corn is great...and we should have a really great year for pumpkins,” he said. “Everything else is doing well...We haven't gotten much rain but we have gotten some when we needed it the most.”
“Everything else is doing well...We haven't gotten much rain but we have gotten some when we needed it the most.” –Chris Oram
Last year, Oram said, the weather was less than ideal. Too many consecutive rainy and cold days, and not enough sun meant a lot of crops did not yield to potential.
“We saw it mostly with the corn...we barely got a week out of our corn last year,” he said. He added his pumpkins also suffered last year – a big-ticket item at the market during the fall.
This year, though, Oram expects the full crop of around 5,000 pumpkins to be big and healthy in time for Thanksgiving and Halloween.
He also noted that this year the family was able to open their annual market this past weekend – a couple of weeks earlier than other years.
Oram said he feels fortunate Newfoundland and Labrador has been spared from the drought plaguing many other farmers across North America.
“I've been helping out (on the farm) since I was a little boy,” he said. “I personally have never seen a summer like this.”
Mark's Market is now open to customers from 4 to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekends.