Produce stands are feeling the heat - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Produce stands are feeling the heat

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A powerful hose helps to spray water on a melon patch in Terrell County.  Much of South Georgia is in exceptional drought, the highest category. A powerful hose helps to spray water on a melon patch in Terrell County. Much of South Georgia is in exceptional drought, the highest category.
The sun shines through a stalk of corn in Terrell County.  The heat has made crops mature faster than they would otherwise. The sun shines through a stalk of corn in Terrell County. The heat has made crops mature faster than they would otherwise.
Donna Turner of Albany gets some help with picking out a watermelon. Donna Turner of Albany gets some help with picking out a watermelon.
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It's summer and for many South Georgians that means fresh produce from the local roadside stand.

Picking up fruits and vegetables is one of the main reasons that people go to a roadside stand. People like Donna Turner.  She lives in Albany, but when she needs vegetables she doesn't go to the grocery store, she makes her way up the road to Mark's Melon Patch in Terrell County.

"I've come to get fresh peaches, and tomatoes and watermelon," she said.

While there are some health benefits from buying fresh from the farm, Turner has another reason to go the extra mile.

"Have to support our farmers," she said.

Farmers like Mark Daniel. It's been a tale of two seasons for him. Lately they've been seeing green here in more ways than one.

"We had a real good Fourth of July," he said.

But it hasn't always been so good.

"The summer before that had been kind of mediocre in terms of business," he said.

One thing has been consistent, however.

"It's been a super challenge trying to keep everything irrigated," Daniel said.

These melons are small now, but they'll be ready for the picnic table soon enough. Watermelons need plenty of water, and the way that they've been getting it lately is not from the sky.

Daniel said, "what I use are a lot of portable guns - called hard hoses - and we can transport them around to different areas."

There's been another issue for farmers this year. It's how quickly the melons have matured.

"They've just been getting ready so fast that we have to get them out of field so quickly. And the next crop is coming in faster than it normally would," said Daniel.

But even though it hasn't been easy for the farmers this year, for customers like Turner their efforts are appreciated. And she'll keep making her way up the road to pick up the produce sold here.

Mark Daniel said that the field where the melons are grown only picked up about a quarter of an inch of rain with all of those storms that we saw last week. Although he did tell us that where the stand itself is picked up much more.

More than 40 per cent of the state - and almost all of Southwest Georgia - remains in the Exceptional Drought category, that's the highest category possible.

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