Home Food Adair Co. organic farm comes back from hail, drought

Adair Co. organic farm comes back from hail, drought

by Atlanta Business Journal

Iowa’s largest organic vegetable farm is again selling produce to grocery stores and farmers’ markets following a devastating hail storm in June, but the drought that followed proved to be even more costly. On June 7, a ten-minute hail storm in Adair County dropped golf ball-sized ice chunks that caused about $150,000 in damage to Bridgewater Farm.The farm did not have insurance, which is complicated for specialty farms. “When we first had the damage, we just didn’t know what to do,” said owner Dale Raasch, recalling that employees were just told to stay home the first week. But volunteers and online donors helped spark the recovery. Days after the storm, 32 people came to help replant 3,500 tomatoes and about 3,000 peppers.”You can tell that there’s people out there that care about what we’re doing and growing the food,” Raasch said. But then the drought arrived in full force. Weeks went by with no rain at all. “We replanted a bunch of the sweet corn and winter squash and stuff, and it sat in the ground, and the same way with the green beans for four to five weeks before we got 0.4 inches of rain,” he said. “And then they finally came up, but they came up spotted.”Between the hail and the drought, he calls this his toughest year in farming, one he estimates has lost up to $400,000.Still, he carries a smile on his face and hopes for good times again. “It’s been a learning experience,” he said. “It’s just something that we hope never happens again. It’s been a very humbling year.”Previous coverage:

Iowa’s largest organic vegetable farm is again selling produce to grocery stores and farmers’ markets following a devastating hail storm in June, but the drought that followed proved to be even more costly.

On June 7, a ten-minute hail storm in Adair County dropped golf ball-sized ice chunks that caused about $150,000 in damage to Bridgewater Farm.

The farm did not have insurance, which is complicated for specialty farms.

“When we first had the damage, we just didn’t know what to do,” said owner Dale Raasch, recalling that employees were just told to stay home the first week.

But volunteers and online donors helped spark the recovery.

Days after the storm, 32 people came to help replant 3,500 tomatoes and about 3,000 peppers.

“You can tell that there’s people out there that care about what we’re doing and growing the food,” Raasch said.

But then the drought arrived in full force. Weeks went by with no rain at all.

“We replanted a bunch of the sweet corn and winter squash and stuff, and it sat in the ground, and the same way with the green beans for four to five weeks before we got 0.4 inches of rain,” he said. “And then they finally came up, but they came up spotted.”

Between the hail and the drought, he calls this his toughest year in farming, one he estimates has lost up to $400,000.

Still, he carries a smile on his face and hopes for good times again.

“It’s been a learning experience,” he said. “It’s just something that we hope never happens again. It’s been a very humbling year.”

Previous coverage:

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