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August 10, 2016

Drought hard on crops like broccoli

Photo / Pixabay
Photo / Pixabay
The drought has helped veggies like tomatoes, but has been hard on others like broccoli, the latter not being a favorite of Maine summer resident and former President George H.W. Bush.

The sustained drought that has hit the Northeast is helping some crops in southern Maine, like tomatoes, but harming others like broccoli.

That may be of modest concern to some, like former President George H.W. Bush, who famously told the New York Times in 1990: ''And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!''

But farmers and their customers may beg to differ. Farmers are finding irrigation difficult to keep up with and customers are finding lettuce and mesclun mix harder to find at markets, but watermelons and cantaloupe tasting juicy, according to the Portland Press Herald.

"I think by and large the produce will be there," Walter Whitcomb, commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, told the Press Herald. "The drought isn't universal, and it's not severe yet." In fact, Maine has fared better than many other New England States.

The National Drought Monitor said the southern half of Maine is experiencing abnormally dry conditions or worse, according to the Associated Press. The National Weather Service said precipitation in much of Maine has been well below normal since April.

The AP said experts noted the boundary between the moist and dry air that fuels thunderstorm activity hasn't made its way to New England as often as usual.

"A lot of our crops are coming in sooner because of the warm temperatures," Mark Hutton, vegetable specialist and assistant professor of vegetable crops at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service, told the Press Herald. "Yields in general are pretty good, particularly from the farms that have the capability to irrigate, which most of our farmers do to some extent."

Read more

Drought spurs USDA aid to Maine's farmers

Poland Spring seeing impact from drought

Feds declare five Maine counties disaster areas

Impact of drought minimal for central Maine’s apple crop

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