Warm weather makes for long growing season
Karen Wassmer owns a small organic farm in Mandarin and says the hot, dry weather has her working overtime.
Her fruits and vegetables are growing out of control, ripening about three weeks ahead of schedule in some cases.
The kale is doing wonderful," Wassmer said. "Our cabbages are great -- nice, full heads."
With a longer growing season this year, Wassmer said she can now plant more of what people want. She increased her crop size by 40 percent.
In many cases, consumers can pick up those fruits and vegetables at a lower price.
"The cheap things right now are tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash," said Phalley Touch a vendor at the Jacksonville Farmers Market.
There, vendors say supply is high, and shoppers can get fruit like mangos that are not even in season.
But who knows how long it was last?
Wassmer said the high temperatures can cause damage to crops. The heat makes strawberries rot faster, as it does with tomatoes and peppers.
"They may start cooking on the vine, steam cook, along with your cucumbers," Wassmer said. "I don't much care for steamed vegetables myself."
Even the cost of produce such as carrots is down, and experts warn the rising cost of gas could shoot the prices right back up.
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