Two popular kinds of produce have been absent from most farmer’s markets across the state so far this summer. State Horticulturist Mike Bevin says the growing season has been delayed as much as three weeks by a combination of wet and cool weather.
"Even the strawberry season was late this year…It should be long over by now," Bevin says. "The other thing would be sweet corn. We have a number of growers that grow on plastic that can normally get sweet corn to the market by the end of June/first of July, but as far as I know — even in southern Iowa, southeast Iowa — they haven’t been able to bring in any mature sweet corn just yet. We’re probably looking at another week or two."
The opening of a number Iowa farmers markets has been suspended because of the flooding. Some of those that’ve been open have had smaller amounts of fresh garden goods on offer. "We’ve gotten a number of calls that markets that they expected to start earlier in the season are starting later," Bevin says. "We’ve gotten a call from a number of fruit and vegetable growers that expected to be at markets haven’t been able to get markets yet. Their produce is behind, and so they just haven’t been able to get there yet."
In all the dark clouds of this stormy spring, Bevin says there was one silver lining. "The one highlight would be the apple crop this year," Bevin says. "Last year we lost, basically, the apple crop because of a late freeze. This year there was an outstanding bloom on apple (trees) and so far to date, it looks like it’s a wonderful apple crop this year so we’re looking for that bright spot, anyway."
Bevin says a few Iowans who raise garden goods as a cash crop have called his office, asking for replanting advice after floods swept over their garden plots.