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Although Wednesday's nearly triple-digit temperatures and blazing sunshine banished thoughts of cold, rainy days to the furthest, cobwebby reaches of most people's minds, farmers have longer memories.

The spring season, from March 1 to May 31, was "wetter than normal for sure," according to Craig Evanego, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College.

"This spring season, March through May, was a record wet spring with more than 20 inches of rain - 20.79 to be exact. It's the wettest spring on record," he said.

The NWS began keeping records at the airport in Middleton in 1888.

"Normally, we get 11.49 inches of rain, so this was almost double," Evanego added.

What did all that water mean for farmers?

Many crops went in the ground later than usual and some early crops were damaged because the seedling couldn't take root in the over-saturated ground.

"It has definitely affected our planting schedule," said Emily Wenk of Three Springs Farm in Aspers.

"Things have been delayed. We are finally at the point where everything is in the ground, but it's later than we would usually like."

The unusually heavy rains also meant that some early crops came through later than usual.

Warmer days

Because of the rain, there also was heavier than usual cloud cover, which helped trap some of the day's heat, Evanego said.

"Temperatures were above normal. The cloudiness kept nighttime temps above normal," he said.

For the March to May period, the average maximum temperature was 62.7 degrees, about .07 degrees above normal, and the average nighttime temperature, the daily low, was 44.1 degrees. Normal is 41.8, so this was 2.3 degrees above average, Evanego said.

"Our strawberries were late. Our sweet cherries will be a little delayed," Wenk said.

In contrast, last year everything came in two weeks early, she said.

Homer Walden, a farmer with Sunny Side Farms, said the rain did not delay planting on his Dover farm, but that is due more to their planting practices than to the weather.

"We got everything in the ground that we could," he said.

"My wife makes a list and tells me this is what I'm going to plant and when and where," he said, "and I move the pigs."

Sunny Side Farms uses pigs as natural ploughs to dig up the ground and mix the dirt, he explained.

"Everything is on schedule, but we only grow about an acre," he said.

Loving the rain

Steve Esh, an Amish farmer from Newburg, said that he had planted late and expected crops to come in late.

For some farmers, although the delayed planting season was an inconvenience, some early crops that were already planted when the rains came fared well.

"Our peas, Swiss chard and kholrabi all loved the early rain," said Elaine Lemmon, a farmer with Everblossom Farm in East Berlin.

Her farm had delayed planting some crops because of the rain but had planted everything that it had planned to.

Because crops went in late and are coming through later, the farmers at the Farmers on the Square farmers' market in Carlisle are simply bringing less produce to the market each week.

"It's a producers-only market," Christine Rudalevige, one of the market's spokespersons, said.

"Right now, I'm doing farm visits. I look for evidence that they're growing what they're selling," she added.

In order to be a vendor at the market, producers must be located within a 50 miles radius of Carlisle and must grow what they are selling on their farms.

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