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Fiery temperatures and the farmers market: how producers are dealing with drought

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The drought hasn’t been kind to any farmers, regardless of how many acres they own. This has impacted many aspects of production, including selling at farmers markets.

Farmers and producers at Bismarck’s Farmers Market say the heat has been tough for the products they’re able to bring to market. However, they’re still working hard to serve their customers who come out bright and early to get their fresh produce.

“I love coming out here, because, thank God! There’s fresh fruits and vegetables. So here I am, trying to gather as much as I can,” said Shar Wooldridge, a shopper at the Bismarck Farmer’s Market.

But with this year’s drought conditions, getting these fruits and veggies out for sale has been a bit of a challenge.

“This is the weirdest year I’ve ever experienced. We’ve never had such extreme heat and such dry weather. So, naturally, you would expect that your cold crops would do poorly and your warm crops like tomatoes and peppers would do better, but that’s quite the opposite,” said Sue Balcom of Root Sellers Farm.

Farmers say they sell out fast, and if you want the best selection, you need to come early.

Ron Roerich says sometimes, not all impacts of the drought are bad.

“The weeds don’t go except where I water, so it makes weeding easier,” said Roerich.

Many of these crops are grown through irrigation systems, but producers say one thing would help a lot – rain.

“Every time you think you can count on Mother Nature for something, she’s like ‘yeah, that’s not going to happen,’” said Balcom.

Roberta Thorson, an organic farmer, has been with the Bismarck Farmers Market for more than 30 years, and she says she’s persevering through the drought.

“Every year is a challenge, you just have to roll with the punches, I guess,” said Roberta Thorson, an organic farmer.

While the weather isn’t ideal, the farmers at the market say they rarely return home with produce, and are happy with their sales.

The Bismarck Farmers Market is in the North Ace Hardware parking lot and is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as the weekend.

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