Notes from Woodbridge, After Irene

I’m quoting in full from Woodbridge Farm’s Facebook page, because there have been a lot of questions about how they weathered last week’s storm:

Hope everyone has made it through last week’s storm okay… We are receiving emails and notes from fellow farmers who have lost almost everything, and the stories and pictures of the devastation to crops and livestock in some areas are shocking. We are thankful here that we sustained no serious damage, and that all animals and people are safe.

We have been out of power for almost a week, and are just getting back online. Luckily, here at the farm, we have a generator that enables us to keep our meat frozen and cheese properly stored so that a storm like this doesn’t take out an entire season’s worth of work. It does, of course, put a large and unexpected dent in our budget, but we are thankful that the year’s work of hay stacking, milking, pasture set-up, cheese making, and especially, the sacred lives of our valuable animals have not gone to waste.

Our entire farm staff has been working incredibly hard, coming to work for harvests, especially last Tuesday, from dark homes, without showers, flushing toilets, hot meals, or laundry. Despite living in powerless homes all week, our apprentices, harvest helpers, and staff have showed up every morning, still ready to go.

Here at the farm, most damage has been relatively minimal. We have many large trees down on the pastures, knocking down fences and making areas unsafe for cattle, but all of our animals survived unscathed, and buildings and infrastructure sustained relatively little damage. Despite being so close to local rivers and streams, we had no flood damage in the fields and most of our crops just looked a little wind-worn.

The crop sustaining the most damage in the field were the tomatoes, so expect that their season will be ending very soon. We were already seeing blight on the plants, although they looked as if some healthy new growth might have continued for a few more weeks. But the already weakened plants did not survive the harsh winds very well and seem to be loosing their steam.

Luckily, we also managed to get many other fruit crops out of the field in an early harvest to prevent more serious damage, including a great-looking winter squash crop. Judging by the looks of the winter squash field after the storm, we are lucky we did.

We were glad to hear that NYC also survived relatively unscathed, and hope the same is true for all of you.

Thanks for your patience and well-wishes as we weathered the power and internet loss and started to clean up the farm.