Downtown vendors at Waco Farmers Market see firsthand the effects of the drought in central Texas

WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Every Saturday, downtown Waco is bustling with fresh produce, produce and vendors, but as of recently, the Waco Downtown Farmers’ Market has seen a dwindling supply of produce available as well as sellers ready to sell their products.

When asked which crops were struggling to grow, Christina Barta of World Hunger Relief said, “Many of our plants, especially solanaceous crops like tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, drop all their flowers when it’s hot outside and we’re not getting fruit said.”

Along with eggplants and peppers, blueberries and peaches are among the most sought-after market items in season, but have all fallen victim to the harsh temperatures.

The abnormally hot season caused other sellers to pull some produce from the farmers’ market because they were not seeing enough growth to last the whole season.

“Some crops just didn’t survive, either because of their water or the amount of water they actually needed to produce. Or the heat killed it, all the plants too soon,” said WDFM Director Bethel Erickson.

With Waco experiencing more than 40 triple-digit hot days for 2022, some produce hasn’t even made it past the planting stage.

“We lost all the cucumbers and the eggplants didn’t set foot like they were supposed to. We didn’t have peppers because it was too hot and too sunny,” Barta said.

The lack of available products caused some vendors to withdraw their stalls altogether.

This leads to double the loss for the farmer as he loses produce and the ability to profit from it.

“Unfortunately our farmer’s market stall suffered for a few weeks because we weren’t even there because we had nothing to sell,” Barta said.

As of now, blueberries are out due to increasing difficulty and peaches will soon follow.

Melons, which can thrive in dry temperatures, are available now and expect a bountiful season.

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James V. Payne