Some of you may have heard there is something called Late Blight being found in potato and tomato fields across the state. It has reached Soule homestead and infected our crops. It’s fairly devastating and difficult to treat and prevent, especially organically. There are a couple of recommended treatments with limited efficacy that we are applying, but we will likely lose most of our plantings.
We’re very saddened by this as we appreciate the tomatoes as much as our customers do and typically can enough to get us through a year. It’s hard to believe our summer won’t be filled with tomato and basil salads, tomato and cheese sandwiches and snacks of tomatoes just off the vine. In addition, this has been one of our most popular crops at the market and we look forward to the constant flow of customers coming by each week to stock up.
We’re trying to stay positive and look at what is doing well, such as our corn – which we haven’t been as successful with in the past. And we’ve been lucky I suppose in that this is the first real crop disaster we’ve experienced. We’ve certainly had challenges in the past – a small output of potatoes, or a loss of a cucumber planting – but overall we’ve been lucky.
Not all farmers have been hit, but it is pretty widespread. You’ll still see hothouse tomatoes at market and those organic tomatoes that are saved. Be aware that the conventional treatment, which will be more effective, is a systemic treatment – meaning it gets in the plant, not just on it.
If you’re interested in learning more, there’s information at http://www.umassvegetable. org. In the meantime, we appreciate the support we’ve received this summer and look forward to lots more delicious produce!