Unfavorable growing weather hits local farmers markets

People heading down to the farmers market in La Crosse will have plenty to choose from, just not a lot of variety.

For the second straight year, farmers are battling unfavorable growing weather.

Farmer Dean Kemp from Viroqua said in his nine years as a vendor, the last two have been the toughest.

“Last year was kinda dry, this year it was kinda wet so the mixture kind of makes it challenging at times,” said Kemp.

He tries to sell a mix of everything.

“Kohlrabies, summer squash, strawberries,” said Kemp.


But because of the cold and rainy planting season, some crops have taken a hit.

“Beans, some of our tomatoes, peppers, egg plants — things like that, that usually take a lot of heat,” said Kemp.

See Thao has a lot of lettuce, green onions and cilantro, but none of her best sellers.

“Good crops are like mainly zucchinis and big onions, and this year those haven’t grown yet,” said Thao. “We do need rain, but we also need sunshine. The rain makes the crop delayed and it doesn’t grow as good.”

So for now, these farmers will try to capitalize on what is growing well.

“We’re doing pretty good for what we have to offer, so can’t complain,” said Kemp.

And they’ll hope they can recover in years to come.

“We will because you just have to,” said Kemp. “So you just do the best you can and try to meet the needs of the customers, and that’s kind of our goal. We want to make them happy too.”

Some farmers said they also grow some of their fruits and vegetables in greenhouses to help ensure some stable crops every year.

Both farmers also said they’ve chosen not to raise prices these last two years to make up for lost crops in an effort to better serve customers.