Wind, rain impacting local farmers

Wind, rain impacting local farmers

MILILANI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The recent rainy and windy weather has had an effect on local agriculture, but so far, local farmers are hopeful it will be brief and temporary.

Some of those farmers had their produce for sale at the Sunday morning farmer's market at Mililani High School. The wind had kept the usual number of vendors down, but customers still showed up to shop. The windy weather was a bit of a challenge.

"Even at these markets, we have tents and we have to tie them down," said Vanthana Vongsaphay of Vilath Farm. "We  don't want anybody getting hurt, too,"

The wet and windy winter weather has been a challenge for growing as well. For example, some produce can end up being over-watered.

"The rain drowns out the greens, so it's making everything just a little bit difficult to harvest and produce and distribute between all the farmers markets and restaurants," said Ka'o Malama-Custer of Nalo Farms.

"A lot of rain just  floods our low crops and we can't really pick them if the rain's too hard," added Vongsaphay. "It bruises them and we can't sell them."

The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, which operates several farmers markets, including the one at Mililani High School, said some vine crops, like tomatoes, have suffered some damage from the wind.

"For fruits and vegetables, they blow and they hit each other," said Vongsaphay. "Bruises them, too. So too much of anything is not good."

There were still ample supplies of fruits and vegetables on sale at Mililani. "This wasn't affected by the storm because it was already pretty much grown and harvested," said Pupukea farmer Kenneth Milner. But he added that supplies in the coming weeks may be smaller, since its affecting crops that are now in the ground.

"Not too much you can do," said Vongsaphay. "You just gotta go through it. It's a rough patch."

Farmers are still confident that the rough patch will smooth out with better weather in the coming weeks.

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