Farmer's Market Feeling the Heat

Intense heat wave, lack of rain leads to fewer crops

The Cowtown Farmer's Market continues to have a regular crowd, but the regular crop isn't what it use to be.

For the last 14 years, Payton Scott has brought his fruit and vegetables to the market. But he said this year is unlike any other.

"I'm older than dirt, and I don't remember it being even comparable," he said.

This year's triple-digit heat and just three major rains since February have cost farmers water, money and crops. Many are running their wells down to keep their crops alive, and electricity costs are running $600 a month.

While there are plenty of watermelons, squash and onions at the market, one of the staples is running out.

"I normally have 30 to 40 boxes of tomatoes on a Saturday," Scott said. "This Saturday, I'll have three boxes and then after that, I'm out of the tomato biz."

Farmers also have smaller offerings, too, such as the peaches from Greg Johnson's B&G Gardens.

"I had a guy come in last Saturday wanting to know if they were apricots because they were so small," said Johnson, president of the North Texas Farmer's Market Association.

He said the market also has fewer vendors.

"I probably had five or six of them that never showed up to sell anything at all," Johnson said.

Even with one-sixth of registered vendors not able to grow enough to sell, regular crowds haven't been bad even on a Wednesday morning.

"We've had a terrific year with the customers out," Johnson said. "And like I said, everybody just kind of moves along, and you get what you want. If you don't come early, it's not here, because there's not as much of it."

He said he doesn't want to see any more heat records this year, but farmers are staying positive that things will eventually turn around.

"That's just farming -- one year is great; the next year is not so good," Johnson said.

"Every day is one day closer to a rain, but the extended forecast don't look very promising," Scott said.

The Cowtown Farmer's Market operates from 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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