You might think July's excessive heat wave would be detrimental to farms in Monroe County.
But News13 found otherwise. Farmers tell us it’s a bumper year for summer crops.
Owner Mark Heckman of Heckman Orchards says, "The heat wave has actually pushed things ahead and made them ripen ahead of schedule."
Heckman Orchards on Route 115 in Chestnuthill Township has vegetables coming out of it’s ears. And the three weeks of 90 degree days we’ve been experiencing along with the owner’s irrigation system is making them a perfect crop.
"Heckman says, "It really sized up a lot of the stuff. The corn is really big, the tomatoes are big and juicy so the vegetable crops are loving this heat."
Mother Nature had the complete opposite effect in the spring. The farm lost most of its fruit crops because of the late frost.
"Heckman says, "In the fruit business it’s one of the worst we’ve ever seen but in the vegetable business it’s one of the best we’ve ever seen."
Unfortunately we’re told the turn in the weather isn’t enough to make up for the earlier loses.
"Heckman says, "The fruit was a large part of our business and the vegetables are not as big of a part so it won’t make up for it, but it’ll help so the loss isn’t so great."
Apple Ridge Farm in Ross Township also has vegetables loving the heat. But the luck they were having with their spring crops has run out.
Owner Brian Bruno of Apple Ridge Farm says, "Some of those crops we can actually put them in shady spots. There’s still certain verities that we can get to go longer but when it gets this hot, a lot of your greens, we’re still getting some lettuce but it’s not happy."
That’s why they have alternative crops to fill the voids. Spinach may be done but they have Malabar Spinach that comes from India.
Bruno says, "It grows on a vine, it loves the hot weather and it cools down like spinach. You can’t eat it raw like spinach because it’s thicker and has a different consistency."
We’re told just because the corn is growing great now doesn’t mean the season will last longer. That will depend on when the first killing frost hits in October.