What is in this article?:
- Southeast fruit, vegetable growers hoping fall crops help them bounce back
- Cabbage, lettuce did well
- Like tropical environment
• Southern farmers learned this year, if they didn't know already, that some fruits and vegetables do better in periods of heavy rain than others.
THIS SEASON was largely a bust for Raleigh, N.C., farmer Roger Ball, whose main crop is strawberries.
Cabbage, lettuce did well
“Our spring cabbage loved the rainfall, and spring lettuce also did well,” said Sharp. “But there was a lot of damage on our melons. Watermelons and rainfall don't seem to go together.”
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His watermelon harvest was nearly complete in early September.
Ronnie Best, manager at the North Carolina State Farmers Market in Raleigh, said in September he too expects a good fall for fruits and vegetables.
“Demand has been good, and also attendance has been good,” he said. “It may be a little less than last year, but that was a year of record attendance.”
Production was another matter, he said. “I can't say it was a bad year, but it was not a good one. In some cases, the quality was down because of the weather.”
Like Sharp, Best noted there was a wide variation in the impact the rainy season had on different fruits and vegetables.
Peaches were definitely affected by the weather. “The crop was not as good as normal, and some varieties came up short,” said Best. “Some peach growers just quit. But there is one last variety that reaches the market around Oct. 1, and we have hopes for it. We call it the 'Fair time' peach, since it comes to market about the time of the state fair.”
There were a lot of apples in early September at the Raleigh Farmers Market, and Best said farmers would start harvesting sweet potatoes soon. “We still have some peas and butterbeans and still a lot of greens.”
Coleman said the rain shortened the season to the point some farmers had to abandon or destroy their second crop, if they had one, because it was completely gone, though many of them got a good first crop.
The shelf life on the produce that made it to the market this season wasn't as long as normal because of the water stress.