Agriculture, Central New York, Food

Central New York Fall Growing Season Ends Well, but has the Industry Changed?

The Central New York Regional Market Authority sells local produce to many people in the area. (c) Nicholas Kuzma 2017

Listen here to hear about the 2017 Central New York growing season and the ever-changing nature of farming.

By Nicholas Kuzma, Syracuse, NY (NCC News)– The 2017 Central New York fall growing season has come to end, and it went well for the crops.

“Things went a little better than I expected,” said Katie’s Pumpkin Patch farmer David Hafner. “The end result was we did pretty good overall. If it hadn’t been for the warm weather in September, October, it wouldn’t have been a very good year. But otherwise, it turned out pretty decent for the pumpkins.”

Hafner said that while sales were down, it was a good year for the pumpkins. The question, though, is what are the conditions that make up a good year?

“So, what makes a good year? I don’t know,” Central New York Market Authority Executive Director Ben Vitale laughed. “Overall a little bit drier year is probably better than too wet of a year. The old farmers have a saying that a dry year will scare you to death, but a wet year will starve you to death; that’s pretty much the case.”

The unpredictable nature of farming, like Vitale hinted at, forces the farming industry to constantly evolve as time goes on.

Vitale, who is also a farmer in Auburn, says farming is taking steps forward by implementing new technology into agricultural processes.

“Farming is a very innovative industry,” he said. “Whenever there is a challenge, they find ways to solve it and one of the ways is to mechanize things.”

Though Vitale said there are changes in farming, one person in Central New York does not see the industry changing much.

The only thing that I see changing,” said Onondaga Wegman’s Produce Manager Steve Schmidt, “is you’re starting to see a little bit more organic growing.”

From an outsider’s perspective, if what he says is true, it seems like Central New York needs to make more changes to get ahead, but Schmidt says the people of the region do not want farmers to change their ways too radically.

He says the people want to continue to eat what they know and have had for years.