The summer of 2018 could be best described as wet. Really wet. Record-breaking rain made for difficult conditions for farmers all across Southwest Virginia, including Eric Layman of Layman Family Farms.
"A lot of our business is numbers. Last year we had a freeze out in peaches so it was kind of a perfect storm,” Layman said. “It couldn’t have gotten any worse for us."
2019 has been a different story, and a much better one for many. With stretches of dry, sunny weather and periodic, but helpful rain. Farmers are experiencing one of the better growing seasons in recent memory.
"I tell you, I couldn't ask for a better season this year,” Layman said enthusiastically. “We've had adequate rain for areas that we don't have irrigation and not too much where we do."
When it comes to growing crops, Layman says farmers can only do so much with soggy conditions resorting to fungicides they'd prefer not to use otherwise.
At Layman Family Farms you can find a multitude of crops ranging from apples, pumpkins, an array of vegetables, and peaches—which Layman says this year's are some of the best they've grown in his 15 years on the farm.
While some areas have struggled to get consistency this summer due to a lack of widespread rain, the overall consensus is that a majority are very pleased with crops this year.
"When you have a perfect year, you'll take that and kind of enjoy it. It's just like a football team getting a win you'll take it for that year, or that week, or whenever."
The success this summer isn't the only thing keeping Layman upbeat. In a few weekends the popular Fall Festival will be returning to Layman Family Farms.
"It's nice to see three to four generations of families and it seems like every one's got a smile on their face."
Tickets are available online for the Fall Festival. $12 for ages 3 to 59, $10 for seniors, and free for kids 2 years and under.
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