Wet weather impacting western New York crops

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB)- Heavy precipitation in western New York has had a big impact on local crops.

For some growers, the rain is a welcome sight, as long as it stops here.

Winemaker at Freedom Run Vineyard Ryan Sidoti says 2016 was an ideal season.

“Last year was a great year because it rained a lot early on and then was dry for several months in a row,” he says.

But once grapes have had their soak, growers want dry soil. That allows the grape to develop a rich flavor that makes for perfect wine.

“‘When it comes to wine grapes, we want them to kind of struggle.”

Concord grapes, which are also grown in the region, can handle a little extra water, says Sidoti.

Coulter Farms, a few miles down the road from Freedom Run, is less optimistic, especially when it comes to strawberries.

Co-owner Jeff Hall says they’ve been struggling with Mother Nature for the past several years; this week was another hard blow.

“It’s thrown off our planning schedule something fierce,” he says.

Hall says they manage, it just takes a lot of extra work. And it’s all hands on deck, because the you-pick season is quickly approaching.

“This year a couple of times we’ve pumped water out of the fields so the crops could survive a little bit.”

Freedom Run takes advantage of being on the escarpment, as it offers a natural drainage solution.

The vines not on a bit of incline are generally watched more closely.

“In a bad year it will continue to rain throughout the entire season. A lot of rain after flowering,” says Sidoti.

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