Rains pummel farmers’ produce

KOLOA — Weeks of heavy rains have taken their toll on farmers, vendors at the Koloa sunshine market said Monday.

Following the stormy weekend, crowds of shoppers showed up on a sunny Monday at the market. The vendors talked about damage to their crops.

“We had too much rain for too long,” said Hannah Huang, one of the Koloa vendors who has farms in Kapa‘a. “I can see the difference in the produce. The arugula and choy sum all have damage, and the lettuce cannot take the rain.”

Another farmer, Eric Wu, who also farms in Kapa‘a, pointed to the last of his zucchini.

“This is the last crop for a while,” he said. “Our leaf products, lettuce and herbs are all gone, and the hail scarred some of the zucchini so this is the last of the zucchini until the new crop comes in.”

Ken Yasutake, a farmer who has plots on different parts of the island, said there wasn’t that much rain in Hanapepe Valley, but in other parts of the island, things were bad.

“The North Shore farms look like they really got hit hard,” Yasutake said, his offerings on Monday being limited to citrus products and protea.

Other vendors’ offerings showed the results of the deluge, from green onions being watered down to leaf crops showing the stress of being continuously pelted by the rain.

Jude Huber, a rambutan farmer from Kilauea, said her 84 trees are in peak production now.

“The rains don’t do too much damage to the fruits because of their shells, but the wind makes them rub against each other and they lose some of the exotic-ness, but they still taste good,” she said.

More than 35 inches of rain hit Hanalei between 8 a.m. on March 3 and the afternoon of March 6, the National Weather Service reported.

The sluggish winter storm, described by the University of Wisconsin as one of the largest thunderstorm complexes, dropped 35.97 inches, with Wainiha recording 35.03 inches in the same period.

Mount Wai‘ale‘ale recorded 27.94 inches, followed by Kapahi with 21.80 inches, Anahola (13.39) and Lihu‘e Airport (12.99), according to a weather service statement. Lihu‘e set a new daily record for rainfall with 8.64 inches falling on March 5.

On the leeward side of the island, Oma‘i ended with 5.45 inches, followed by Koke‘e (5.13), Kalaheo (4.77) and Mohihi Crossing (4.5 inches).

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