Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Harry Hildebrandt

Local farms recover from hail damage


Photo by Harry Hildebrandt The lettuce at Kilt Farm was protected from the hailstorm by its shade tent.

The hail storm three weeks ago tore through Niwot, destroying roofing and carpeting the ground in ice. Plants in local gardens were stripped as well as those in nearby farms. Though some crops, like the corn in the fields just east of Niwot, have made excellent recoveries, other patches of ground would be mostly barren if not for the hard work of the farmers who manage them

One such farmer is Michael Moss, of Kilt Farm, just northwest of Niwot. Kilt Farm supplies Niwot, Boulder and Longmont restaurants and grocery stores such as the Niwot Market, Lucky’s, Treppeda’s, and Wild Standard, as well as being a Community Supported Agriculture farm that provides fresh food to families in the area. When the hailstorm struck, it had a significant effect on production.

When asked about the current state of the crops, Moss replied, “Everything is now a month behind.” Many of the more fragile crops were ruined in the storm, and hardier plants like tomatoes required extra nutrients and attention to stay healthy after suffering so much damage.

“We had to change our mindset on what to plant.” continued Moss, saying that they were focussing more on fall crops to compensate for the loss.

Moss said that the storm caused a huge financial loss. When asked about how the storm had affected the businesses that purchase his crops, he said, “I haven’t been able to supply anything for four weeks,” and mentioned that in the meantime he’d been running his farm with a “skeleton crew.”

Fortunately, crops will start shipping out again the week of the 24th of July, and Kilt Farm will be bringing its usual employees back soon. At the moment, Moss is counting on a strong fall harvest instead of following the standard schedule.

Kilt Farm was not the only location affected by the hailstorm. According to Moss, “Oxford Gardens was heavily impacted,” and the level of damage to many nearby farms was substantial.

A number of gardens in Niwot were affected in the same way that Kilt Farm was, if to a lesser degree. Moss advises home gardeners to replant now if their vegetables were affected, and to focus on fall production with plants like kale, cauliflower, chard, and broccoli. When asked about preventative strategies, he said, “If you have a backyard garden, think about covering your plants up in wire hoops or row cover.”


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