Extreme heat impacting New Jersey’s farms and farmer’s markets

Posted: Updated:
SOUTH ORANGE -

Temperatures are supposed to reach over 100 degrees in parts of New Jersey this week.

While some residents are enjoying the sunny, warmer weather, the heat can have a negative impact on the Garden State’s farms and farmer’s markets.

Chester-based Stony Hill Farms sets up shop at 12 farmer’s markets around the state every week. The owners have been selling fresh produce on the road for 18 out of the 35 years the farm has been in business, so they know how to protect themselves and their produce from the heat.

"We tend to put a lot of things in water that will wilt. Also, we keep extra water with us to put things in,” says owner Carol Davis. “Soak things in water on the way down and keep it there until we put it out so it's not wilted and stays as fresh as possible.”

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Davis says leafy produce like lettuce tend to go bad much faster when temperatures are in the 90s.

“By the time we get back home, it’s cow feed,” she says. “We don’t’ get rid of it, we reuse it for food for the animals.”

Davis says the plants on the farm are also impacted by the heat. She says they slow down their growth when it gets this hot, which means less Jersey Fresh produce to be sold statewide.

“When it gets this hot, the plant material slows down and shuts down because if it tries to do it's growing, it'll lose too much water and the plant will wilt,” Davis says.

Davis also says customers tend to stay away from outdoor farmer’s markets when it gets this hot, opting instead to shop in an air-conditioned grocery store.

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