ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Hot and dry conditions are hitting crops hard. Local farmers that sell produce at St. Paul Farmers Market say the unusual season is forcing them to use more irrigation.
“We are able to irrigate as much as we can, which is not nearly enough as we would like to,” said Debbie Urban. “The people that do not have any irrigation, I really feel bad for them because they’re hurting.”READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: Drought Conditions Ease In First Days Of Fall
Urban’s family has been selling at the farmers market for years. She said the dry climate is affecting the size of their sweet corn.
“The corn is wonderful. It tastes wonderful, a lot of cobs are smaller size than what we’d like them to be,” said Urban. “Instead of giving six cobs in a half-dozen, we have to give 10 cobs just to make up for the size difference. That hurts a little but it’s what we have to do to be fair to the people.”
Across from Urban Farms’ booth is Mike Noreen with Burning River Farm. Noreen said the lack of rain added a lot of work to his schedule because he has to use irrigation to water every day and all day. He said dry climate has affected crop yields mostly roots because they don’t recover quickly.
“We go through and pick all the best beets and then they’re not growing fast enough to be ready for the next week because they’re not getting enough moisture,” said Noreen.
While scorching heat has made it challenging to grow and sell produce at the farmers market, some crops are thriving during the drought conditions.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: Drought Conditions Holding In Place As State Moves Into Fall
“Our melons do a lot better when it’s dry,” Noreen said. “Our winter squash tends be do better, tomatoes as well. There’s much less disease when it’s drier.”
Some vendors have raised prices this season to offset extra costs of farming.
“We’re trying to keep prices as close to previous years as possible,” Urban said. “You do notice some people are definitely raising their prices.”
Customers like Maria Krye are impressed by the local farmers’ ability to grow quality produce during a dry period. Krye said even if crops suffer this season, the experience is what keeps her coming back.
“It’s a cool little area and downtown St. Paul’s pretty nice. It’s fun to be here,” said Krye.MORE NEWS: Burning Restrictions To Be Lifted In Much Of Northern Minnesota Overnight
St. Paul Farmers Market is open Saturdays 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. The market is located at 290 Fifth St. E.