Rose Valley farm loses greenhouse in winter storm

Dave Stewart
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Carey Wood says she and her husband Jeff aren’t getting much sleep these days.

The owners of Olde MacKenzie Farm in Rose Valley woke up Wednesday morning to find one of their greenhouses, measuring 20x30 feet, was destroyed by northwest winds that had gusted to 100 km/h overnight.

And they weren’t showing signs of easing off through the day on Wednesday either as a winter storm warning was issued for Queens County.

“When (the wind) starts through the night we really don’t sleep through the night. We can’t see what’s happening and we know we’re at the mercy of the winds,’’ Carey Wood said. “I think I noticed about 2:30 a.m. that it was down (but) we hope to be able to salvage it. It can be very stressful.’’

Another one of their greenhouses sustained damage but was still standing Wednesday afternoon.

The greenhouses require power to keep them inflated and that was proving to be a chore as well. Power was on and off through much of the day for Islanders. Maritime Electric had 24 crews scattered through the province trying to keep power on.

There are two layers of plastic on the Woods’ greenhouses filled with air. It acts as a layer of insulation and also helps to strengthen them in high winds.

The Woods lost two greenhouses last winter due to high winds.

“Anytime they call for winds over 80 km/h we start to get nervous as we aren’t sure what damage may occur from power outages and the high winds,’’ she said.

The MacKenzies lost power during the interview with The Guardian.

“My husband just went out to start the generator.’’

Carey said farming comes with challenges through the year and even more in winter. Extreme cold temperatures and storms can make things very stressful.

“Through the day it can be a little better because at least we can look out and see what’s happening. If we lose a piece of plastic we can go in and cut it before we lose a full structure.’’

The challenges haven’t slowed the couple down. They’ve increased by at least one double poly greenhouse a year for the past three seasons. The caterpillar tunnels were new last fall and were a new learning curve altogether, especially through the storms.

“After each storm we assess the damage and continue on, waiting for spring. We love being able to grow fresh greens all winter so it makes it worth it, so far.’’



Organizations: Maritime Electric,

Geographic location: Cornwall, Queens

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