National News

Erratic summer weather causing mixed results at area farmers markets

Posted July 27

— So have you noticed a shortage of produce at area Farmers Markets this season? It really depends where you are and whom you ask. There's no doubt the weather has been a bit unpredictable. We've had a slew of wet weather days. Some area farmers say certain crops, like melon and zucchini are thriving. But peppers aren't fairing as well with all the damp conditions. Also, one favorite, sweet corn, seems to be a few weeks late this year.

Of course, so many farmers are dependent on what Mother Nature gives us. In turn, this affects what we get to chose from at area farmers markets. However, Kurt Schwendimann with Lake 5 Farms in Colgate works with hydroponics. This is basically the concept of growing plants in water and not soil. A lot of his plants grow in greenhouses all year round. So, he's much less reliant on what the forecast is. In fact, he tells me he's a few months ahead with a lot of his planting. This, in turn, makes it easier to grow what he wants at his own pace.

A spokesperson at the U-W Extension office in Waukesha tells me it's hard to say the exact revenue generated by farmers markets, regardless of weather impacts, since the state doesn't require financial records to be kept when it comes to this kind of business.

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