GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The fall is all about family traditions.

“Every year growing up, he makes some pies around the holidays,” Nick Sondej of Guilford said.
For some, that tradition means coming to Bishop’s Orchards.

“We’re Guilford residents, and we know where the best apples are!” John Sondej said.

However, finding the right time to visit has been challenging because of the weather.

“We were actually looking between tomorrow and today, and today seemed to have a break right now,” said Ashley Johnson of New Haven. “I think we can bang it out in two hours before the rain starts.”

The timing of the rain has made things especially difficult, with rain wiping out weekend days and only a few weekends left for pick-your-own.

“We have plenty of apples and pumpkins,” Bishop’s Orchards Farm Manager Brad Isnard said. “It would be nice if it could be spread out for two days, but we’ll take what we can get! We’d love for people to come out right now.”

News 8 Meteorologist Ashley Baylor explained how persistent the rain has been.

“Out of 17 weekends, since July 1, only three have been dry,” Baylor said. “That’s going back to July 22-23, August 5-6, and August 19-20. We’re going into the eighth Saturday with measurable rainfall.”

Bishop’s Orchards told News 8 they’re down about 30% in revenue for pick-your-own apples and pumpkins. They’re hoping for nicer days ahead to help make up some ground, but it won’t cover it all.

“All of New England has just been suffering,” Isnard said.

Farmers have been hit hard statewide between the frost-freeze events earlier this year and the heavy rain in July, destroying crops and land. Farmers say the weather conditions have taken away millions of dollars in revenue.

Here’s a look at the numbers from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.

From the February and May 18 frost/freeze events:

  • 70 farms reported an estimated 1,077 acres impacted by the weather
  • Estimated losses of $8.45 million in sales revenue from the frost and freeze events

From early July, significant rainfall/flooding:

  • 45 farms reported an estimated 3,100 acres impacted by the weather
  • Estimated losses of $26.5 million in sales revenue from the rainfall and flooding

“I’ve been here for 33 years, and this is probably the most difficult year from a growing standpoint that I’ve seen in my 33, and that’s because it’s so unrelenting,” Isnard said.

That makes the support from the community more critical than ever.

“If you can’t get to Bishop’s or Guilford, go somewhere else and support a local farmer,” Isnard said.

For more information about picking your own apples at Bishop’s Orchards, click here!