Produce farmers: spring harvest a washout - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Produce farmers: spring harvest a washout

Luckett Farms (Source: WAFB) Luckett Farms (Source: WAFB)
Luckett Farms (Source: WAFB) Luckett Farms (Source: WAFB)
Luckett Farms (Source: WAFB) Luckett Farms (Source: WAFB)
Luckett Farms (Source: WAFB) Luckett Farms (Source: WAFB)
Luckett Farms (Source: WAFB) Luckett Farms (Source: WAFB)

Local vegetable farmers report wet weather conditions last spring resulted in one of the worst harvests on record. In turn, grocers are experiencing a shortage in produce.

Farmers at Luckett Farms in Pride, La. picked through a 30 acre field of crops looking for the ripest vegetables. The Lucketts take pride in their product, but daily rounds these days consist of picking what is left of the spring crop. 

"This is the worst year that I've ever had," Derek Luckett said.

Farmer, Derek Luckett, said the rain was relentless. Daily downpours drowned tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and melons.

"Everything is eaten up with disease or rot, or water logged. The grass grows so fast you can't keep up with it. My tomato crop was horrible. We lost three quarters of the crop," Luckett said.

A lot of the tomatoes have fallen from the vines. The ones that remain were ruined before they had a chance to ripen.

"Everything is either sun scalded or rotted from the rain we got in the spring. Now it's not raining, but it's 105 degrees out here, the sun scalds all the cantaloupe and they are no good to sell anymore," Luckett said.

It has been especially tough for the Lucketts who deliver to markets and local businesses through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Customers buy a share of the farm, and in return, they get a weekly delivery of fresh vegetables. But it comes with a risk.

Kacie Luckett said, lately, she has had to get the produce from other farmers. But since they too have been hit by the same weather conditions, sometimes she can't deliver.

"It's hard to explain to them how the weather and how the rain affects us. Just because it isn't raining on a certain day doesn't mean we can get out here and work," Kacie Luckett said.

The Lucketts said there is nothing they can do to turn their spring harvest around. But the good news is, in just three short months, they will get a fresh start.

"Everything we plant in the spring we plant in the fall. We just hope for the best," Derek Luckett said.

CSA members understand when they sign up for the program that they share the same risk as the farm.
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