Farmers Market

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We are at least nine inches behind the average rainfall for this time of year, and of course the farming industry has no choice but to try and cope with these dry conditions.

Glenda Hutzel from "I Can Grow" Farm in Cottondale grows, picks and sells a variety of about 20 fruits and vegetables.

"Things are different every year. The farmers gotta be prepared for what mother nature hands out."

Mother nature wasn't very generous this year, giving farmers a dry spring.

At the Farmers Market in downtown Marianna, growers like Ron Howard are selling less this year because they are growing less.

Ron said, "Drought is killing us. We have two small fields that we can put water on with water hoses. But the big field our 10 acre field, it hasn't had enough rain to produce anything."

Couple that with the rise in the cost of fuel and fertilizer and you might expect to find higher prices at these local markets, but farmers say the price of food is remaining about the same.

Many farmers install drip irrigation systems because the weather can be so unpredictable from year to year. One nectarine tree is a victim of the dry conditions. It would normally be ready to be picked by the first week in June. The lack of rain has its fruit small and undeveloped.

"I would say in couple weeks we'll have a full crop of nectarines. We're hoping that we'll get some rain real soon to swell up the fruit to make them a little larger."

We'll look forward to seeing these nectarines at the market, even if they do arrive a few weeks late.

Last year there was the opposite problem, two much rain too early in the season, causing crops like potatoes and watermelon to get washed out.