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Greenmarket Farmers Hit Hard By Upstate Floods

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TWC News: Greenmarket Farmers Hit Hard By Upstate Floods
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Upstate farmers are trying to rebound after many were hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene.

Of the 230 farms that bring products to the city's Greenmarkets, 80 percent were affected by the storm.

Farmers are hoping city residents will come out and buy their produce, breads, jams and more, while they deal with losses they say reach far and wide.

One sixth generation farmer from Highland, New York says heavy rains from Irene devastated half of his tomato crop.

"We lost a lot of tomatoes. That was our biggest loss. The water was over...we are right on the Wallkill River and that came over, so I'd say they were under for two days," said farmer Albert Wilklow.

"Without question the worst that we've seen it and the worst that farmers, I was up in Orange County yesterday, they say it's worse than the flood of '55, they never expected flooding that the way there was flooding," said GrowNYC Greenmarket Director Michael Hurwitz.

Currently, there are 53 Greenmarkets throughout the city. While some stay open year-round, others are seasonal, meaning a big crop loss at the height of summer is that much more devastating.

"Yeah we come down here every weekend. It's just the best way to support them and they can make money from what they lost and hopefully have a little bit of recovery," said one Greenmarket shopper.

Meantime, Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a $15 million Agricultural and Community Recovery Fund to help hard-hit areas.

The money will go toward rebuilding and agricultural infrastructure costs, including fixing drainage and sewer systems and restoring vineyards.

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