Orange County farmers hope for good crops as planting season begins

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WARWICK -

Orange County’s black dirt is known to produce amazing fruits and vegetables, but the extremely wet weather has made life particularly tough for farmers the past couple of seasons.

Farmer Chris Pawelski grows about 55 acres of onions, and says each year it gets more difficult to make a dollar.

“I'm getting the same price for onions that I got in the 1980s,” he says.

Pawelski said last year was a nightmare because there was too much rain.

“The fields never really had an opportunity to dry properly. And so it made harvesting very difficult and it affected the quality of the onions,” he says.

Joe DeGise, of Apple Ridge Orchards in Warwick, says he and his brother looked at the calendar from last year and there were 181 days of rain.

DeGise and his family own and operate the “you-pick” farm. He says while the rain helps grow their apple and peach trees, too much isn't good for anyone.

“It hurts business - one from the production and two from the visitors that come,” he says.

DeGise says that the new season gives them hope, and that planting and preparing well is all they can do.

“Farming's like gambling. You think you got that winning Powerball number and this is what this is like. You know, you think you got that winning crop. You hope,” says Pawelski.

Harvesting season for local onion farmers is typically around July through September. The you-pick season for local apples and peaches is August through October.

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