Despite the bad weather, fruits and vegetables performed well in the Carolinas this past season.

“Among early season crops, our strawberries were really good,” said Ronnie Best, manager of the North Carolina Farmers Market in Raleigh.

“We got enough cold weather for good development, and we had strawberries until the end of July.

“Our peach crop was good. We had some real nice watermelons and sweet corn, but the demand was down late in the season.”

One vendor had a beautiful load of sweet corn, but it wasn’t selling, said Best. She asked a customer why and he said, “I had all the sweet corn I could eat back in July.”

Marvin Eaton of Belews Creek, N.C., has nine acres of strawberries on his Piedmont farm. “We had a good crop although it got hot at the end and we lost some berries,” he said. “The overall yield was down a little but the crop sold well.” The marketing season runs from May 1 until early June.

Among the summer crops, the early plantings were all good, but in mid-June, the effects of the dry weather began to appear, said Best.

“One thing I saw this year is farmers planting a relatively late second or third crop, because they didn’t do as well on the first crop as they had hoped.”

But staggered production has been a trend among fruit and vegetable growers in recent years. “They are trying to spread their production out,” said Best. “I have even had one farmer who grew sweet corn to mature in time to sell at Thanksgiving. But it hasn’t done well.”

There may be some more relatively new fall crops in the near future. There are a few tunnel strawberry operations in the area that could supply fruit to the Raleigh market.