Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just in from Payette


Purdum's plant peppers--Steve Ritter photo

Rain Hampers Purdum's Fruit and Vegetable Operation

Payette-"No more rain! Rain, rain go away," A kids song from the lips of Robyn Purdum, but the farmer sings with deadpan honesty. The fruit stand owner is tired of rain so much, she drips with frustration.

"Its not allowing us to get into the fields and do what we need to, to fertilize, spray and even finish planting," she says. Last June Purdum says you could look down lush cornrows and see the early sweet corn tasseling, today you'll see scrawny, 8 inch corn battling rain and cold temperatures for survival.

"If we have some heat units maybe we can catch up, if not we are going to be a couple of weeks late. Hopefully we will get some warm weather this month and in July and we will catch up. But the weather has got to turn around," said Purdum.

Purdum's have been in business 14 years on the edge of Payette out near Interstate 84. The farm is a landmark for travellers and city dwellers looking for fresh, home grown produce.

"It's definitely the coldest year I remember. Last year was wet but we had the heat with it and things grew real well but this year's been too cold," she sighs.

So far this year the weather's been a cruel joke, with two days of dry weather, followed by downpours. "You can start working again, but when it rains we're shut down again, I think we have worked three days of the past two weeks is all."

On this day the Purdums are planting and replanting peppers. The going is slow as workers carefully place the fragile plants into the rich soil. "Again, we're a month later than last year, we started a month ago but got delayed, we found more plants and started again today. The Purdums hope to get planted before another week of unsettled weather.

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