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VIDEO: Prince County farmers thankful Dorian didn’t hit P.E.I. harder

Matt Compton of Summerside’s Compton’s Very Berry Patch and Vegetable Stand stands amid his flattened sweet corn crop. The plants are still salvageable but harvesting them will be much more difficult thanks to hurricane Dorian.
Matt Compton of Summerside’s Compton’s Very Berry Patch and Vegetable Stand stands amid his flattened sweet corn crop. The plants are still salvageable but harvesting them will be much more difficult thanks to hurricane Dorian. - Colin MacLean
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

Matt Compton’s sweet corn crop should be taller than he is. It's not. 

Monday morning he stood in front of acres of flattened stalks. 

Compton’s family has been farming in the Summerside area for a long time. His parents said Saturday’s hurricane Dorian was the worst they’d seen since 2003’s legendary hurricane Juan. 

That being said, Dorian was damaging but not catastrophic, said Compton.  

“The sweet corn is my biggest concern. We still have at least six acres left to harvest and it’s lying flat in the field. It’s still harvestable, but it’s just going to be a big challenge to get it out of the field.”

He also lost his extensive corn maze and sunflower stand, which he’d hoped to have ready for this weekend’s Open Farm Day. He also has 100 acres of straw that has to dry out before it can be harvested. 

“Different challenges, but we’ll still be here,” he said. 

Ian Simmons, of Kool Breeze Farms in Summerside, said he too is thankful the damage was not more severe. 

“We were lucky. We had a lot of damage, but we could have had a lot more,” said Simmons. 

Kool Breeze also sustained damage to its sweet corn crop, lost several trees and some of the plastic from its main greenhouse was damaged. Its corn maze also sustained some damage and Simmons is unsure yet if it is salvageable or if it will have to remain closed. 

At Barry Balsom’s Arlington Orchards, in Arlington, he estimated he lost about 200 fruit trees to the storm. 

“We’ll remember Dorian for a while,” said Balsom. 

“It’s not devastating but she sure slapped us around quite a bit here.” 

Balsom said he’s still working towards opening his popular apple u-pick on Thursday, but there’s a lot of work to be done before that. He added that other orchards on the Island were also hit hard, as well as their contemporaries in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. 

“We got roughed up a bit, but we’re fixing it and we’ll be in the market. They’ll be plenty of apples for the Island customers, we hope,” said Balsom.

Greg Donald, executive director of the P.E.I. Potato Board, said Monday he’s spoken with a number of members around the Island and most had faired relatively OK. 

Considering how much water came down during the storm, the fields handled the deluge surprisingly well, said Donald.  

Most of the crop is in its final stages of development before harvest, he added, so this is a critical time. 

“(The potatoes) are bulking up really fast, hopefully, it didn’t damage them too much that they won’t be able to finish off half decent,” he said. 

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