Eau Claire Farmer’s Market open, but farmers still catching up

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- On a typical spring day the Eau Claire Farmer’s Market gets close to 25 venders and a couple thousand customers.

But Saturday, for opening day, the number of venders was cut in half and just a few hundred people made it out. With the drought last spring and the snow this May farmers say they just can't catch a break.

“It's been a long, hard spring for us. It’s really one for the record books,” said owner of a greenhouse farm near Spence, Wi, Lynn Martin.

“Approximately a year ago today we had our truck loaded with asparagus, today there is none, and there won't be any for at least a month,” said Helen Kees, owner of Wheatfield Hill Organics.

Martin says his plants did OK this year, but still, without sun it's not the same.

“Without the sunshine it just really doesn't do much, so we're just dependent on the weather as anyone else is,” said Martin.

“Seventeen inches of snow in May is tough to swallow,” added Kees.

Farmers say a long winter can be good for crops, but with the unexpected snow fall in May, plants aren't the only thing suffering.

“This year we spent a lot more on heat. In early March I bought a 500 gallons of propane, I figured it should do it for the rest of the season. I bought 1000 gallons since then,” laughed Martin.

But even with fewer venders and customers, snow or no snow- the show must go on.

“Last night we thought maybe we won't do this, but then again we have had a long tradition on opening day and we don't want to break the tradition,” said Kees.

“I didn't want to miss the first day experience, either way, if there is rain or snow,” said Eau Claire Farmer’s Market customer Mary Beth Ingrouille.

Farmers say hopefully next week there will be more produce for sale. But for now, they're playing the waiting game.

“If we have nice weather we could catch up, but we do have some catching up to do,” added Martin.

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