Weather Has Hurt and Helped Locally Grown Crops

- Texoma farmers and ranchers are still overflowing with joy over rains that fell this past weekend and while those rains helped supply crops, cattle and pastures with much needed moisture, it did not reverse reverse damage already caused by the weather.

Weekend rains certainly helped water the crops of farmers and cattle ranchers but thanks to some hard freezes earlier this year, farmers say some locally grown fruits Texomas are accustomed to enjoying will not be plentiful this season.

Cattle in the Charlie-Thornberry farming community in Clay County have an easier time drinking from stock ponds after recent rains showered down on the area.

"We got close to three inches over Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.  It was a huge bonus," says Becky Morath with Morath Orchard.

A bonus that's allowing them to have a colorful array of locally grown produce at the Downtown Wichita Falls Farmers Market.

"We've been able to have a really good variety of vegetables this year," adds Morath.

From tomatoes and potatoes to squash and zucchini, this produce is selling well but farmers say other weather impacted other popular crops.

"We're still gonna have a peach crop but it's not gonna be quite as much as we had before the freeze," Morath says.

Several nights of sub-freezing temperatures in late March took a toll on peach orchards, as well as as on blackberry plants.

These plants are irrigated, so growers say the drought didn't harm them as much but that wasn't the case for some other produce, which is why growers say weekend rains were greatly welcomed.

"We do have a pea patch that's not irrigated so this rain was a big boom for that too and our pecan crop is not irrigated so the rain helps with the pecan crop too," Morath says.

Since freezing temperatures in March greatly reduced the number and size of peaches grown in the Charlie/Thornberry community, growers say it *may* force them to cancel this year's peach festival.

But they say if that happens you can still celebrate the popular fruit during Peach Day at the Downtown Farmers Market, which is set for Saturday, July 12th.

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