The recent cool weather across the Hudson Valley has been a welcome change to the blistering 90 degrees and humidity of last week. With temperatures finally returning to normalcy, the Hudson River Valley is gearing up for one of its major attractions: wineries and local farms.
Usually at this time of year, temperatures hover around 80 degrees, with the high being 78 degrees Fahrenheit and the low at 55 degrees at night. This week, though, the weather has taken a turn boasting temperatures that barely pass 70 degrees during the day and hang around 50 degrees at night, but that will all change this weekend as the temperatures approach back 80 degrees.
All in all, though, there is a feel that fall is in the air meaning that it’s almost time for harvest season and the return of the popularity of local farms.
For farmers, this summer was ‘the summer that wasn’t’ due to a mild July, which is a crucial time for crops. Although there were minor setbacks, the recent hot weather was the cause of more damage, which is why farmers are grateful for the milder temperatures spreading across the Hudson Valley.
Peter Barton is the owner of Barton Orchards in Poughquag, NY. Not only does the farm offer a wide variety of apples, but it grows pumpkins, peaches, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. In addition, it features children’s activities as well as a food stand.
For Barton, this cool weather is the perfect condition to start the harvest season, especially after the concern over the mild July and the hot early September.
“The hot weeks caused sun scalding on the fruit and decayed some of the vegetables,” said Barton. “This weather is exactly where it should be and is beautiful growing weather.”
Montgomery Place Orchards in Annandale-on-Hudson is experiencing the same relief as well. The farm is entering its 27th year of operation by the Fincke family, and grows a wide variety of vegetables and fruits depending on the season.
Although the cooler weather means the phasing out of peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and green beans, the weather is the perfect recipe for apples and concord grapes. According to Talea Fincke, the cooler weather enhances the sugar and natural sweetness of the fruits as well as brings out the vibrant colors. For her, this weather means a good crop for the season.
“There’s always good and bad with weather changes,” said Fincke, “but it always seem to balance out. We are very diversified and are able to grow everything, so we can adapt to weather changes.”
However, some are apprehensive about whether the weather will continue to cool. With the possibility for a potential frost soon, some wineries are a little nervous.
Doug Glorie is the co-owner of Glorie Farm Winery in Marlboro, NY with his wife Mary Ellen. The two planted their first grape (a Seyval Blanc) back in 1983. At first, their only customers were home wine makers who bought the grapes, but in June 2002, Glorie Farm Winery produced its first bottle of wine.
Usually their growing season extends until October 20th, but if the weather continues to cool quicker than usual, that time could be cut short as there will be less time for the grapes to hang in order to acquire the desired flavor.
“Coolness is not good for growing grapes,” said Glorie. “They need heat and to hang for as long as possible to reach maturity. If it’s too cold, the grapes will frost or the deer and birds will eat them forcing us to pick them before they’re ready.”
Hopefully, though, with temperatures looking to approach 80 again this weekend, that will not be a concern. Rather, the cooler weather will encourage visitors to these farms and wineries, and engage people in the fall spirit.