East Texas heat causes harvest shortage for produce stands

Published: Jul. 16, 2022 at 3:33 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2022 at 10:16 AM CDT
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GLADEWATER, Texas (KLTV) - The intense Texas heat has taken its toll on what would have been local produce sold to markets and roadside stands, with many now depending on inventory from other states.

And heat is making it difficult for those farmers, who still can, to supply enough produce.

Most East Texas roadside stands are now selling produce from other states, as blistering heat is fading growing conditions for local farmers.

“Tomatoes wouldn’t get ripe, these are Tennessee tomatoes here,” said one roadside vendor.

“Virtually impossible. Water and irrigate what you can and hope for the best.”

Everyone thinks it’s the heat and the lack of rain, which those 2 things do contribute, of course, but we had such a warm December that really impacted the fruit,” said John Sattler, owner of Winona Orchards.

Most of what is grown locally, watermelon, Noonday onions and some fruits are making their last appearance at markets.

Though there are still items that are being harvested like watermelons, for local farmers that are still producing the window is closing very quickly.

“Ours is probably winding up, June was a hard month, these last 3 weeks, the end of June, beginning of July. Our cucumbers are not going to last, it’s pretty much going to burn up,” said farmer Lisa Landfried.

A few places like ‘Highway 80 Produce’ in Gladewater are still getting some deliveries of locally grown items.

“We always buy local first, and we have several farmers that pop in and ask if we want to buy what they have on their trucks. So we always do,” said owner Allison Lott.

Low yield means a substantial loss for growers, which is why they’re trying to produce to the very last moment.

“We still have a few varieties that are mid to late season. There is some hope for us,” Sattler said.

Farmers we spoke with are now looking to fall planting and possibly better yield next year.

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