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Produce Prices To Rise

July 31, 2013, 10:00 PM by Angela Kennecke

Produce Prices To Rise

Getting in your "five a day" is going to cost you more this fall. Consumers can expect to see the prices of fruits and vegetables rise by as much as ten percent.

While this may be a problem that stems from the East and South, it's also been a tough year for local producers.

Linda's Gardens out of Chester sells produce at eight farmer's markets a week and also supplies grocery stores and restaurants. But this has been a very tough season, starting with a soggy spring.

"It made it very difficult to get out into the fields and when we were able to get out into the fields and plant, a lot of the seeds were washed away or left rotting in the soil," Jacqui Kouf of Linda's Gardens said.

Even when the rain stopped, the crops just didn't seem to thrive like in other years. Many tomatoes are still green on the vine.

"The plants that did come up, they were very weak. A lot of them started out with disease and you just have to pull those out and replant-try to make due with what you've got. But it's a lot of replanting and hope," Kouf said.

But it's not nearly as bad here as in the southeast, where too much rain has drowned out wheat, cotton and peanuts.

Half of the watermelon crop in some areas of the country has been washed out and they're not doing so great around here either.
"The cantaloupes are very good, very sweet, but without the heat and the sunshine the watermelon just doesn't have that flavor you're looking for,” Kouf said.

The soggy start to spring, along with bouts of uncooperative weather throughout the season means that the harvest is running two weeks to a month behind.

"Time is also a factor. You have long day vegetables, you just don't have time before the frost or the fall comes and daylight gets shorter and weather turns colder,” Kouf said.

Meaning profits for growers may be down, while prices for those summer staples are expected to keep going up.

Some producers are even worried about green pumpkins for Halloween, but that likely won't be a problem with those locally grown.

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