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Hailstorm Destroys Crops In Albuquerque's North Valley

Nash Jones
Vida Verde Farm says most of their spring crops and all of their summer crops were destroyed by hail in Albuquerque on May 31, 2021

Amid severe drought conditions in Albuquerque’s North Valley, Monday’s storm had the potential to provide some welcome relief for area farmers. But instead, unusually heavy hail decimated many of their crops.

Credit Courtesy Seth Matlick
Hail covers crops at Vida Verde Farm in Albuquerque's North Valley, May 31, 2021.

This is Seth Matlick’s thirteenth season farming in New Mexico. The owner of Vida Verde Farm said he’s never seen this level of hail damage. “Our field was completely under about two inches of water with ice floating through most of it,” he said.

Matlick said the farm lost around 90 percent of what remained of spring crops, which would usually last them through next month. On top of that, 100 percent of the farm’s new sprouts were shredded. “All of our outdoor heirloom tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumbers, melons, eggplant, hot and sweet peppers, flowers and herbs,” he said, listing his destroyed summer crops.

Credit Courtesy Seth Matlick
Hail shredded most of Vida Verde Farm's spring lettuce crops

Matlick said that’s a loss of tens of thousands of dollars for his operation. And his farm wasn’t alone. He’s spoken to several other North Valley farmers who also lost the majority of their outdoor crops. Though, he doesn’t think it’ll disrupt food production city-wide. “Further from us, it seems like a lot of farmers were scared but pulled through,” he said.

Luckily it’s early enough in the season, he said, that Vida Verde will be able to replant. In the meantime, he and his team will have to make do with anything salvageable. “You know, farmers are resilient,” he said. “We clean up, we make a plan, and we keep moving forward.”

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.