To say that the winter 2013-2014 season has been a challenge for winter vegetable farmers is an understatement! In a more typical winter, local farmers produce an abundance of greens, spinach, root vegetables, and cold crops using high tunnels, low tunnels, and row covers to moderate cold temperatures. However, cold weather arrived early in December 2013, and extended periods of near record cold temperatures in January and February 2014 added to the challenges. Crops must be covered for protection during these periods, and the combination of cold and dark slowed crop growth and reduced the supply of fresh veggies. In some cases farmers lost crops during extreme cold spells. Further adding to the difficulty is the high price of propane, which makes heating high tunnels costly. Better supplies of produce are ahead, however, as warmer temperatures return to the Ozarks.
-Patrick Byers, MU Extension Horticulture Specialist and FMO Board of Directors