EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Fall is in full swing, which means people across Southern New England will be out enjoying their favorite seasonal activities, whether it’s finding your way through a corn maze, picking out a pumpkin, or filling a bag with fresh apples.
However, many local farmers were concerned about their harvest after the extreme drought conditions that affected our area over the summer.
With little to no rainfall, farmers had to make some tough decisions like choosing to wait out the dry weather or increasing their irrigation.
John Steere, manager of Steere Orchard in Smithfield, told 12 News he chose the former.
“We’ve held up pretty well with it,” he said. “We have really heavy soil and apple trees have a little deeper root than say corn, corn plants, or veggies, so it’s held them a little long, and then we finally did get some rain and it helped everything grow right at the end.”
However, some other crops couldn’t afford to wait out the dry conditions. Vincent Confreda, owner of Confreda Farms in Cranston, said his pumpkin patch needed some help and was irrigated for the majority of the summer.
“Actually, the crop came in very well, unexpectedly,” Confreda said. “We did irrigate our pumpkins, so that was a great help. With irrigation and hot dry weather, the pumpkins love it because we give it the water it needs.”
When all was said and done, it seemed a controlled watering of his crops proved to be the difference maker. It allowed the pumpkins to remain dry and prevent rotting, which Confreda said was a big problem last summer when our area saw too much rain.
“It’s like a catch-22. You don’t know how to figure it, but this year the pumpkins turned out very good,” he added.
Southern New England has been seeing cool temperatures and rainy conditions since the start of October. Farmers say they hope the rain doesn’t occur on the weekends.
“Last weekend, we had one rainy day and one windy day, which definitely slows us down,” Steere said. “We only get so many weekends for apple picking in the season.”
So how does the weather look for activities this coming weekend? Check out our detailed 7-day forecast to find out.