Produce Late Growing For Farmers Market

(NEAR OTO, IA) - It's safe to say Mother Nature has lost quite a few friends this spring. Cold, snowy, wet weather has made it difficult for many people to get work done, especially farmers getting ready for the first Farmers Market of the season.

We haven't had much sunlight this spring let alone warm temperatures. That's leaving farmers frustrated. Farmer Jim Brown doesn't mind digging to a dirty job done. He's been growing produce for the Sioux City Farmers Market for four years now, but farming's been in his blood for decades. "One year can be so much different than the last year. It's part of growing crops," said Brown.
Last year the soil was so dry, farmers were begging for rain. This year it's a totally different story. "Last year I had asparagus right now. The middle of April I had asparagus. And now this year it's going to be the middle of May," said Brown. At least he has a sense of humor. "If I get hungry while I'm working out here, all I have to do is grab a leaf and start eating," said Brown with a laugh. He also has a siXth sense for smart growing. Farmer Brown uses artificial light to heat some of his plants. "The reason for the artificial light is because this year I can' trust Mother Nature to fix me up with some sunlight," said Brown. "These guys are just biding their time here I guess," said Brown referring to his seedless watermelon and cantaloupe. "Like I said, waiting for some sunlight." Luckily, Farmer Brown said later crops like seedless watermelon and cantaloupe will be right on time this year.
The Sioux City Farmers Market still opens May 8. Brown said he expects to see mostly lettuce, green onions and possibly kale.