Dry weather means better apples and pumpkins

- Dry weather isn't always a bad thing. In fact Edward Harbes, owner of Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck, Long Island, says it is actually better when it comes to harvesting pumpkins and apples.

"A lot of crops like it on the dry side, especially pumpkins," Harbes said. "If they get too wet they're prone to root rots and that sort of thing."

Harbes says sweet corn, which relies on moist soil, didn't do as well as the others. The North Fork farm has 50 acres of pumpkins and over two dozen varieties of apples. When picking this fall, you may notice a stronger stem on your pumpkin and an overall crispier, sweeter apple.

"It's an extra expense but the quality and attendance is better," Harbes says. "It's a good price to pay."

The added expense is using the advanced irrigation system instead of relying on Mother Nature. The cost is $10,000 more in diesel fuel and manpower. That price hasn't trickled down to the customers. It's still the same: 65 cents a pound for pumpkins, and $8 for a quarter peck of apples.

Some of the farm's costs this year for irrigation have already been offset by the great weather, but the next six or so weeks are the ones that really count because they are the busiest time of year.

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