Heat, lack of rain takes toll on local produce

Posted at 7:21 PM, Jul 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-27 19:22:31-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WTVR)--The peaches and tomatoes taste just fine, but they don't look as good as they have in the past, according to Gwen Christian at Pole Green Produce in Mechanicsville.

A hail storm a few weeks ago left big gashes in the Virginia peaches, and the famous Hanover tomatoes aren't as red. Instead the severe heat has turned them a yellowish-orange color, even though the taste is uniquely familiar.

Business is good at Pole Green Produce compared to years past, and prices are up just slightly, but Christian says she knows when the local produce is gone; finding good fruits and vegetables at a reasonable price will be hard, considering the drought in the mid-West.

Her customers believe the same thing. "It's been said when all the local is gone, then what are we going to do, because even though the prices are going to rise, there still aren't produce that can be brought to us," said LaFran Walker.

"I'm concerned about how it’s going to affect the food prices later on this year, the crops are going to be shorter and that's going to make all food and beef, going up and everything,” John Luck of Beaver Dam said.

In 1945, 85-year-old Edward Talley started farming. He believes for Hanover County farmers, this is one of their worst years; hit by not only severe heat and drought, but hail and a tornado.

What the sun didn't burn up, the hail heavily damaged.

Talley is now trying to get his fall crops planted, but without much needed rain, he fears he could lose those crops as well.

For a complete list of local area Farmer’s Markets, click here.