Va. Beach farmers cope with wet weather

File photo of farming in Virginia.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A cold winter, cool spring and wet weather have slowed the growth of strawberries and other produce in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach farmer Mike Cullipher says the recent rain left behind muddy fields, putting him at a disadvantage.

“Today’s really the first day since last Friday we’ve been able to get in the field,” he said.

He expects to open his farm market on Saturday, but says his normal April preparation time was put back 10 days, due to the soggy weather.

Photos: Local farmers cope with soggy fields

“This time of year you need to do all your maintenance work to get ready for the actual picking season — make sure any weeds are pulled, that the strawberry plants are in good shape,” Cullipher said. “You can’t work in the plants when the leaves are wet.”

The weather has also had a drastic impact on getting vegetables to the stand at Holland Produce at the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market, according to manager Alice Philips.

“Things are later. We’ve had things die in the field, just rotted.The wind has whipped, it just burnt stuff up, so we are later than usual,” she said.

But Philips says her customers have been patient, and Cullipher says strawberry picking continues in anticipation of Mother’s Day weekend.

“Our hope is that because we’re starting later that our season will be later on into June,” Cullipher said. “Typically by the first of June we’re done. So, if we can get ’til Father’s Day this year, it would really be nice.”

It might just turn out that way this year. Cullipher now expects his strawberries will keep producing perhaps into next month, if the milder weather holds out.


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