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‘It’s looking like a much better year than last’: NH farmers optimistic about 2024 season

Tomatoes that are just starting to ripen on the vine at Dimond Hill Farm in Concord.
Jane Presby
/
Dimond Hill Farm
Tomatoes at Dimond Hill Farm in Concord on June 5, 2024.

Last year, extreme temperature swings wiped out entire apple and peach crops across New Hampshire. This spring and early summer things are looking different.

“There are enough apples that growers are currently having to thin their apples so more fruit on the trees than we need for a full crop,” said Jeremy Delisle, a field specialist for the University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension.

Many farmers are still digging out of the red after last year. Recent state policies around crop loss relief and organic certificationfurther upset many struggling growers.

But 2024’s relatively calm weather so far has been a welcome relief for many.

“We had a fairly mild winter this year, and so most of our fruiting crops came through that in really good shape,” Delisle said. “We also had good weather during pollination, and so we have a really good fruit set overall ranging from small fruits through to tree fruit.”

“Fingers crossed it's looking like a much better year than last,” said Madison Hardy, president of the New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association.

Jessica McQuesten of McQuesten Farm in Litchfield said her strawberries are looking great this year. She had to replant the entire strawberry field after losing the entire patch last year.

“We could use a little bit of more water, but we have that coming this week, so everything's looking good so far,” she said.

Bob Frizzell, who owns Peachblow Farm in Charlestown, also lost most of his strawberries last summer. He said some of the effects from last year’s heavy rain are still affecting some plants, but overall his crops are looking better.

“So far,” he said. “You never know what's going to happen tomorrow.”

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