Strawberry picking at The Jungle Farm was pushed back a few weeks this year due to cooler temperatures. (Photo contributed)

Strawberry picking at The Jungle Farm was pushed back a few weeks this year due to cooler temperatures. (Photo contributed)

Cool weather and hail impact central Alberta farms

Hoping for a warmer fall

Central Alberta farmers escaped the wind and hail that decimated Taber corn crops earlier this week, but local growers have still had their share of heartbreak this season.

Elna Edgar, at Edgar Farms southwest of Innisfail, said peas on her land took a beating from hail in July despite separating the 36-acre crop into three fields.

“They’re five miles apart and one was totally destroyed, one was partially destroyed and one’s perfect,” Edgar said.

“The most disheartening thing is I’ve done absolutely everything to the best of my ability. I’ve been working on these peas since April 9.

“We’re out there all the time working away, trying to do the very best job we can, because I know if I’ve got an amazing product, the customers will buy.”

Peas also got a late start due to the cooler weather and wet fields this summer. They are fantastic and sweet now, but it’s been a frustrating year, she said.

“The weather is just beating us up.”

She said beans also started late, with some early crops wiped out by hail.

“We’ll pick until we get another hail storm or a frost, which ever comes first,” Edgar said with a laugh.

“Who knows in this weather? But all farmers deal with weather. That’s what we do.”

Rod Bradshaw, at Beck Farms southwest of Innisfail, said farming is definitely a job for optimists.

“You take the good with the bad. It’s a little frustrating,” Bradshaw said.

“I’ve reminded a few people we had a killing frost in the middle of August in 1992. Are we due? I hope not,” he said.

He said July hail hammered some of his vegetables.

“Early seeded carrots did well. They took the hail a lot better than some of the later seeded ones. Some of the later seeded ones were small enough that it killed them, so the later seeded crops will be thin, but it’s really tough to know until you get in and start harvesting them.”

He said it’s been cool and his farm received less moisture this season.

“We grow brussels sprouts and they should be about two or three feet tall, and they’re about a foot tall. They’re not going to get much taller than that, so whether they’ll be saleable is an issue.”

He said a lot of the cereal crops have changed for the better in the past month.

“They’re looking really good from the road. Hopefully, when we get in there with the combine, we’ll get what we see from the road.”

But canola is still blooming, which it shouldn’t by this point in the season.

“This year, I planted it right next to my house, so every day I look at it, and I’m going, ‘Come on, get out of the ground. Come on, grow.’

“I couldn’t not look at it,” Bradshaw said.

Leona Staples, at The Jungle Farm south of Penhold, said hail mostly avoided her farm, but cooler temperatures pushed the start of strawberry picking back 10 to 15 days to July 25.

“Everything has shifted back,” Staples said.

“We see beautiful flowers out in our pumpkin patch. We know some of them have pollinated. But how much are we going to get? It depends on what temperatures we get in August and into September.”

She said on the bright side, cooler-weather crops like lettuce, spinach and radishes are happy and aren’t bolting as quickly in the field.

Normal weather seems to be a thing of the past, she said.

“We used to say this is what we would kind of expect. I don’t know what ‘kind of expect’ is anymore,” Staples said.

During Alberta Open Farm Days, Aug. 17 and 18, several central Alberta farms will open their gates to visitors.

Two Red Deer restaurants — Westlake Grill and Boulevard Restaurant + Lounge — are taking part in Alberta on the Plate, a celebration of Alberta Local Food Week until Aug. 18.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Farming

Just Posted

Firefighters and emergency services workers helped celebrate Barry Young’s 85th birthday at Timberstone Mews on May 29. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters in central Alberta make birthdays special

A fire truck arriving outside your house is not normally good news.… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Crimson Villas, a seniors housing facility in Red Deer has finally opened its doors. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer senior housing facility opens its doors

Crimson Villas, named after Red Deer’s official flower, has officially bloomed. The… Continue reading

The Town of Ponoka, who has typically leased the main stampede grounds to the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association, is transferring the land to the association. (Photo by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
AB Gov’t to provide more grants for live event organizers

Live events will be getting a boost from the provincial government over… Continue reading

Alberta government committed $7 million last year for an integrated shelter service to help Red Deer's homeless population. (Photo by Advocate staff)
City of Red Deer finds only one viable location for emergency shelter

City of Red Deer administration is recommending the Cannery Row Emergency Shelter… Continue reading

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Germany's Robin Gosens, left, celebrates Germany's Mats Hummels after scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Portugal and Germany at the football arena stadium in Munich, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)
Germany clicks at Euro 2020 with 4-2 win over Portugal

MUNICH (AP) — Germany finally clicked into gear at the European Championship,… Continue reading

Fans cheer on their team during the pre-game warmup of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal with the Montreal Canadiens facing the Vegas Golden Knights, in Montreal, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

MONTREAL — The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning… Continue reading

Coronavirus cases are on the rise from India to South Africa and Mexico, in a May 19, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in… Continue reading

A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.  (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bandit responsible for vehicle break-ins is a black bear

THORNTON, N.H. (AP) — Surveillance video helped police get to the bottom… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 25, 2019 file photo, Editor Rick Hutzell, center, gives a speech to his staff including Chase Cook, Nicki Catterlin, Rachael Pacella, Selene San Felice and Danielle Ohl at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom, is leaving the Maryland newspaper. Hutzell, who worked at the Annapolis paper for more than three decades, authored a farewell column that was published on the paper's website Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ulysses Muoz/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Editor of paper that endured newsroom shooting says goodbye

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won… Continue reading

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II look on, during day five of of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Saturday June 19, 2021. (David Davies/PA via AP)
Queen beams as she returns to Ascot after COVID-19 hiatus

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II was smiling broadly as she attended… Continue reading

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20 per cent of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, data suggests

TORONTO — Canada has hit two of the vaccination targets government officials… Continue reading

Most Read