- Associated Press - Saturday, July 5, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Extensive rains and a lack of heat and sunshine have made for a weak growing season, farmers in the Fairbanks area said.

Record rainfalls during the past two weeks have saturated crops and stunted plant growth, the farmers said. More than 6 1/2 inches of rain has fallen in Fairbanks since June 18.

“It’s one of our worst seasons ever,” said Mike Emers of Rosie Creek Farm. “Most of the crops are just sitting there, not growing at all.”

Emers, who operates a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) cooperative in which members get a weekly supply of fresh, locally grown vegetables, said he’s usually harvesting crates of broccoli and cucumbers by this time of the year.

“I don’t have any of that stuff yet,” he said.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (https://bit.ly/1qz834g ) farmers are also complaining of flooded fields that make it difficult to use machinery.

“The water has been quite a challenge,” said Pete Mayo, who operates a CSA at Spinach Creek Farm.

Warm-weather crops such as zucchini, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans have been especially affected.

On the upside, farmers said crops that like wet weather - such as bok choy, spinach, Swiss chard and lettuce - are thriving.

“My bok choy is cranking out, and it’s not going to bolt as quickly. That’s one nice thing about this cool, wet weather,” said Gretchen Kerndt, who operates Basically Basil and runs a CSA. “We haven’t had to irrigate, that’s for sure.”

But her basil plants, which like hot and dry weather, are limp and lime green because of all the rain. “It’s going to be a tough basil season,” Kerndt said.

Farmers hope the weather will soon turn around. The forecast for this weekend shows temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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