Too much rain hurting farmers

Tables empty at market
Jul. 10, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Just a few farmers were selling fresh produce early Tuesday morning at the Rutherford County Farmers Market, leaving many of the tables empty.

Due to the abundance of rain during the past weeks, crops are being damaged and are being thrown away.

"Usually this time of year we're full," said Ricky Horne, farmers market manager. "Normally we would have been full three weeks ago," he said, looking over the empty tables at the market off U.S. 74A in Spindale. 

But due to the rain, crops are suffering.

According to the official rainfall totals at the Broad River Water Plant off Union Road near Rutherfordton, there has been 12.33 inches of rain collected since June 1. June total rainfall was 5.48 inches and already in July, 6.85 inches of rain has fallen. 

According to records at the water plant, rain fell 18 days in June and rain has fallen every day in July except Monday, June 8, although it rained in many areas of the county on Monday.

In Lake Lure where Wendy Craig measures the rainfall total for the National Weather Service, 5.4 inches of rain has already been collected for July. Rainfall for June was 4.8 inches.

Rainfall totals vary across the county as rain gauges have collected record amounts of rain. As much as 12 inches of rain has fallen in some areas since July 1.

Horne said Jack Causby threw away one-half bushel of dew melons Monday because they got too much rain.

"Melons are bursting, tomatoes are dying and people are replanting up to three times," Horne said.

"This has put us way behind at the farmers market," he said. 

Marc Kabot and his daughter, Cheyenna Kabot, were selling varieties of green beans and cucumbers. The Kabots are new farmers and own Kabot's Full Quiver Farm off Old Henrietta Road near Forest City.

This is the first year they've been in business.

"Is it raining more than usual?" he asked others at the market Tuesday. A newcomer to the county, he was surprised at the amount of rain.

Kabot said the lower bottom land at their farm is "flooded." 

"Maybe it'll dry out one of these weeks," veteran farmer Russ Burnick said. "But they're forecasting rain all week."

From his garden off Silers Lake Road in Rutherfordton, Wade Tipton is gathering some tomatoes, but has thrown many of them away.

Kernsville resident Janice Hale arrived at the market with Sarah Harrill to buy Blue Lakes green beans, but there weren't any.

"They are hurting on the vines," Harrill said.

"We have replanted squash and cucumbers and they are already coming up," Titpon said.

Jan McGuinn, cooperative extension agent, said Tuesday afternoon the 2013 growing season may not be as productive as in the past, "but all in all I think it will be a good year."

She said if there are a few weeks of improving weather, "we're going to be okay."

The rain has had an impact on many vegetables, depending on the stage of growth they were in.

"We have gotten all this water and the squash, beans and other vine crops have been impacted," she said.

 Moisture creates more mildew and diseases. McGuinn said the water has created disease problems for ornamentals as well as flowers.

"We are seeing some of those diseases show up. The sunshine and drier conditions is going to help supress them and will keep them in check.

"Anytime you have that much water, plus the oxygen levels in the soil and no sunshine, you are going to have some impact on crops," McGuinn said.

"Tomato acreage, sweet corn, bell pepper and anything that was on plastic or elevated beds had a better chance of coming through this," she said."We will see the crops responding weather does improve." 

Some farmers had to plant later in the spring and haven't been able to take care of the gardens due to the water. 

Standing water is seen across large stretches of farmland.

The lack of local produce will affect consumers in the grocery store,at farmers markets and produce stands.