Central PA Farmers Feel the Heat

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EAST BUFFALO TOWNSHIP -- According to Meteorologist Tom Clark, this has been one of the hottest Julys on record. That's good news for swimming pools and ice cream shops, but farmers? Not so much.

The Lewisburg Farmer's Market was packed with people buying fresh produce, and other snacks.

"Tomatoes, sausage sandwiches, other fruits and vegetables," Richard Hunter said.

"String beans and I bought some fresh red beets," Sandy Berge said.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Union, Snyder, Northumberland and Montour Counties are in a drought watch. That's not good news for these local farmers, who make a living selling produce.

"Pretty much the rain we got the other night was a Godsend. A lot of people didn't get that. Those who didn't get that are really suffering yet," Wilford Haupt said.

Wilford Haupt owns Haupt Produce in Paxinos. He irrigates at his farm, so his crops are in good shape.

"There would be no reason to grow vegetables without irrigation in a year like this, because we'd have nothing. We pretty much have pumps running around the clock to save our crops," Haupt said.

But some farmers aren't as lucky. Haupt says some farmers are raising produce prices because supplies are low.

"Pretty much everything is a little bit short. Especially tomatoes. Tomatoes are really short supply because they don't take heat and stress at all," Haupt said.

Customers notice the difference, too.

"The corn's not nearly as high as it should be by now. That's very noticeable," Hunter said.

Even so, customers still want to support their local farmers.

"Are you hoping for rain too to support them? Yes I am to support them. We live surrounded by a farmer who grows corn and it's starting to wither," Berge said.

The heat is good for something. Farmers say the weather is good for grapes which means a good year for wine making.

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