BRIDGEWATER, Iowa — Last week a hail storm pummeled the organic crops on Bridgewater Farm.
Peppers, garlic, and strawberries and many other crops were damaged. The damage totaled was around $150 thousand. The Farm does not carry crop insurance, as there is no insurance that pays for losses that organic produce can experience.
On Wednesday the farm had a number of volunteers who came to help the farm staff replant, but first they had to scour the Midwest looking for organic replacement plants.
“It’s difficult for this replant because you can’t just go to the local garden center and buy plants to replace, because they aren’t produced organically and the organic certifier wouldn’t OK that,” said Dan Fillius, an ISU Extension Produce Crop Specialist. “There aren’t that many chances for insurance that that will pay back the amount of money that they would usually get by selling at retail prices.”
Replacement crops were located east of Iowa City and near Wichita.
“Yesterday I went to work in Haysville, Kansas which is south of Wichita,” said Dale Raasch, owner of Bridgewater Farm. “I drove 730 miles to get my sweet potato plants, about 11 and a half hour drive.”
Now with help from volunteers from Practical Famers of Iowa, and other friends of the farm they hoped to get around 25 thousand plants in the ground on Wednesday.
“It’s worked out good and then the weather today it ended up being really nice, we missed the storms last night,” said Raasch. “I’m guessing 25 to 30 people were here today to help plant.”
The weather cooperated, no rain fell on the farm last night and the heat was not unbearable, but it was really windy.
“I just appreciate everybody pitching in and coming to help us when we were down to just give us a lift,” said Raasch.
Bridgewater sells produce at Farmers’ Markets in Des Moines, Omaha, and Atlantic, and also sells to some HyVee stores.