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A searing summer for North Dakota’s producers

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 7:39 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The first day of fall is Wednesday, rounding out a summer of blistering heat. The intense summer temperatures have impacted farmers and producers at all levels, even those who use irrigation.

Sue Balcom of Root Sellers Farm brings produce to the Bismarck Farmers Market several times a week.

“In spite of the drought, we’ve had a fairly good market season this year. Since it’s Mother Nature in charge, you never know what to expect no matter what your weather is,” said Balcom.

She said 2021 has brought its own challenges.

“When you go to the farmers market, and you’re charging the price that you’re charging, and you’re getting a look. People aren’t thinking about that. The cost of water this summer was incredible,” said Balcom.

The heat has caused Sue’s crops to need a little more care.

“This year, we’ve watered every other day,” said Balcom.

Balcom said 2021 was a tough year for pests, with things like flea beetles getting a hold of Brussel sprout plants.

“The pests, they come in when your plants are a little weaker from not getting rained on. They just devoured them. We had many more pests than we normally have,” said Balcom.

Balcom also said weeds have been excessive this year. While growing has had its challenges, demand for local produce has remained high.

“There were so many people coming to the market looking for things their gardens didn’t produce this year,” said Balcom.

Balcom is looking ahead to her fall harvest of potatoes, pumpkins, and squash.

You can find fresh, local produce like Sue’s at the Bismarck Farmers Market four days a week until Halloween.

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