This week we asked farmers around Tompkins County and New York State to tell us how they’ve handled last week’s unusual snowstorm.
Aaron Munzer from Plowbreak Farm sent the photo above, taken inside a high tunnel as he and his partner Kara knocked snow off the structure. “It’s kind of like a really frigid jungle gym,” Aaron says. “Our tunnels are rated for some snow, but when more than a couple inches is forecast at a time, and there’s no wind yet to blow it off, we usually have to manually remove snow from the high tunnel roofs. Sometimes from the outside, sometimes on the inside.”
Aaron and Kara have four tunnels to maintain. “Last night we had the tractor out after dark because there were 6 foot drifts along the sides of the tunnel that we wanted to remove,” he said.
Inside the tunnels, the plants are protected under blanket-like row covers. “The young seedlings we have started are alive, but not too happy either. At this stage, they need light and heat to grow.”
Matthew Glenn from Muddy Fingers Farm said he and his wife Liz haven’t had many problems with the snow. “I haven’t even had to clean off the roofs of the hoophouses because the wind did it for me. The cold and lack of sun are making it hard to keep plants in the greenhouse warm though. And I know recent severe wind storms have damaged hoophouses in the area, including one of ours,” he says. “I for one am enjoying the winter weather. Time to get out the snowshoes.”
Barb Neal, who operates a hobby farm in Danby, wore snowshoes as she pulled a toboggan loaded with hay and water to her goats, sheep, and pony. The process “featured a full face-plant by yours truly. Extreme farming,” she says.
Lorraine Lewandrowski, a dairy farmer in Herkimer, reports that their milk pickup was almost interrupted by the snow, but thanks to a snow excavator and the milk truck driver, they managed to pull it off. You can see a video of some of the action here.