At the Union Square Greenmarket, Ray Ray Mitrano stood over a tableful of rotten vegetables — evidence of the damage wreaked by Tropical Storm Irene.
“It’s all gone,” the 25-year-old farmhand and artist said of the produce he had helped plant at a farm near New Paltz.
Now, he’s looking for a job, along with the Dominican-born farmer with whom he worked, Hector Tejada, who leases the 11 acres of land that was flooded.
Two of his Mexican-born workers returned to their country. Mitrano on Thursday went back to the room he rents in a New Paltz house.
“The water outside was waist high,” he said. “People had to use boats to leave, and the surge from the river covered fields, roads, many houses.”
On Saturday, while he explained to urban dwellers what had happened to the upstate land that feeds them, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he’s creating a $15 million Agricultural and Community Recovery Fund to help farms hardest hit by the storm. The governor spoke as U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the storm-battered area.