Farmer's market off to a warm start

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Grand Junction Farmer's Market made its 2010 debut Thursday night and this year is expected to be the biggest ever. But how are the farmers fairing after a turbulent spring?

After the fifth coldest winter on record and a cooler than normal Spring, many growers are a scrambling to catch up. "We were not able to get our seeds in the ground as early as we would of liked because of the cold weather," says Carol Zadrozny of Z's Orchard.

Zadrozny has been selling fruit and vegetables at farmers markets all over the Western Slope for 38 years. She says it's a business that's at the mercy of Mother Nature. "We haven't had an Apricot crop in three years," says Zadrozny

This year hasn't been as kind for some crops, like tomatoes. Strong winds did their fair share of damage. "We put them out and the wind destroyed about half of them," says Zadrozny.

For first time market vendor Barbara Bikki, this season has already started off with some sleepless nights. "Our blossom time is late at least a week or so," says Bikki. She's been a grower in Palisade since 1965 but this is the first year she's participated int the Grand Junction Farmer's Market.

Even though the long harsh winter seemed to last forever, not everything was damaged beyond repair. "The grapes were hurt but I think they will come back," says Bikki. Even the sensitive apricots were able to survive. Giving growers an abundance of fruit, the first in years.

"We've actually had to thin them," says Zadrozny.

The Grand Valley has finally made the transition into the warm spring we're all accustomed to. Good news that has put a little spring in the step of some growers. "We'll be able to supply our markets for sure," says Zadrozny.

But she's still not letting her guard down. "We're going to see things pushed up, but if we have some coolness it holds them back, so we're still in the weather game," says Zadrozny.

Others are thankful that this year is finally a "good" year, for growers and for market goers. "Thank God we have a bumper crop and I'm happy for everyone in the Valley," says Bikki.

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