Long winter delaying East End harvests

Warm, sunny spring has replaced this year's cold, long winter, but some East End farmers are still dealing with the dreary season's after-effects. (5/5/14)

RIVERHEAD -  Warm, sunny spring has replaced this year's cold, long winter, but some East End farmers are still dealing with the dreary season's after-effects.

Normally by this time, workers at Schmitt's Family Farm in Riverhead are busy picking spinach. This year, they're just pulling weeds. The never-ending snow and the cool start to spring have meant a late start to the East End farming season.

It's the same story at Lyle Wells' asparagus farm in Riverhead. "You get one here, and then you get nothing. Really there's not a whole lot to pick," Wells says, adding that he's far behind his normal harvest.

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Most farmers don't pull in any income at all during the winter, so they need to start selling crops as early as possible in the spring. They say a two- or three-week delay can be a big deal for them.

Mother's Day is traditionally when most farm stands open for the year. For now, farmers say all they can do is hope Mother Nature will turn their luck around.

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