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Heat wave limits quantity, quality from farmers' fields

Posted June 6, 2008

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— North Carolina farmers are feeling the heat. The early summer hot spell is drying up crops and profits in Johnston County.

John Wheeler and his partner, Wayne Perry, usually pick their vegetables at the end of the week for sale at the Franklin County Farmer's Market. But a string days with temperatures in the 90s had them sweating to find something to sell this week.

"I worry about it and I lose sleep at night," Perry said.

He expects his fields will yield only half their normal bounty. The quality of his products is down as well. He and Wheeler picked cabbage that was shriveled and had holes.

He expects to have to raise prices to make up for the loss.

"The prices on everything [are] going up, so we have to go up. We have no choice," he said.

At Rocky Ridge Farm, Steve McCalla is trying to salvage what he can from the brutal heat. He said his crop of tomatoes and peppers won't be hardy enough for this kind of heat until later in the growing season.

"It's taking a lot of moisture out of the soil," McCalla observed.

He estimated that one-third of the peppers he planned to sell at the Wake Forest Farmer's Market had dried, cracked and turned to dust.

With the increased heat comes the need for more water to support the crops, pushing the farmers' costs even higher.

"The sun and the heat right now is killing our life," Perry said.

6 Comments

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  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Jun 6, 2008

    I have to agree with bushretard; it's only been really hot for a few days. Anything to raise prices - it's too hot, it's not hot enough, too much rain, not enough rain...always something.

  • dedratermi Jun 6, 2008

    Bushretard,
    The issue is that it's this hot this early in the growing season. This type of heat in July/August is fine but not in early June. Maybe you should refrain from commenting on things you clearly know nothing about.

  • Moabit Jun 6, 2008

    All I can say is that Pam and Debra (5 news anchors) get what they always wished for. They are the ones always complaining :when is it going to stop raining, when is it getting warmer? I do not want to hear anything about it being to hot and killing crops. Greg is the one that I like, he appreciates the rain and the cooler weather.Because we all know that it is only getting worse.

  • thatgirlyeahher Jun 6, 2008

    I understand that the weather is doing a number on crops but do they really expect people to pay inflated prices for sub-par items? I know canned/frozen food isn't as good for you as fresh but it's in better shape, that's what I'll buy!

  • bushretard Jun 6, 2008

    Heat wave? Its only been hot for about a week. What are these yahoos gonna do come August? Is there a more complaining group than farmers? jeeze.

  • seeingthru Jun 6, 2008

    lol, I won't be buying any expensive cabbage with holes in it!! whatever any excuse to raise prices period.