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Vendors at Regina Farmer’s Market feeling impacts of drought

Click to play video: 'Vendors at the Regina Farmer’s Market feeling impacts of drought' Vendors at the Regina Farmer’s Market feeling impacts of drought
WATCH: As drought-like weather conditions continue for much of western Canada, vendors at the Regina Farmer's Market are being directly impacted. – Jul 28, 2021

From those who sell organic produce, to those who bring homemade hot sauce or mead to the Regina Farmer’s Market, a wide array of vendors are feeling the ripple effects from perpetual drought conditions this summer.

“Well the ground’s super cracked and really dry, but it’d be good to get some rain in the next few days or whenever,” said Simon Boutin, who was at the market on Wednesday on behalf of his family’s business, Heliotrope Organic Farm.

Read more: Precipitation forecast for Saskatchewan no match for drought: expert

“We’re managing — you do what you can,” Boutin said.

He says the family has had to water their crops a lot more than usual in order to salvage them.

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49% of Canadians believe climate change must be urgently addressed: Ipsos poll – Jul 28, 2021

Harry Shaw and his wife live in B.C. and they’ve brought their fresh produce to the Regina market at their stall named “Kim’s B.C. Fruit” for the past 40 years.

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Shaw’s wife is from Regina and so they’ve always tried to stay connected to the city.

Read more: B.C. residents encouraged to curb water use as drought conditions grow

He says they’ve never experienced devastating conditions like this before as they’ve lost 50 per cent of their apples, along with some other popular sellers.

“Any of the smooth-skinned fruit takes a beating with the heat, the cherries would split, or you know just overheat and shrivel up because it’s so hot, when they’re still immature,” he explained.

Click to play video: 'Heat and drought decimating crops, impacting Canada’s food supply' Heat and drought decimating crops, impacting Canada’s food supply
Heat and drought decimating crops, impacting Canada’s food supply – Jul 22, 2021

Even those selling hot sauce are feeling the burn from the persistent heat and minimal rain.

“It has been difficult and further-reaching for some of the chili peppers as local producers have not been able to get the crops they need to fulfill our orders, habaneros especially,” said Cecilia Swanson, co-owner of Mike Bites Food Co.

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“I don’t know what it is about them, but they’ve just been so hard to reach,” she added.

Swanson said she and her husband just kicked off their business this year after both of them were let go from their jobs in the restaurant industry due to the pandemic.

Read more: Saskatchewan government announces aid for livestock producers struggling with drought

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for some melon-flavoured mead at the market this year, then you’ll be fresh out of luck.

“We produce all of this just 20 minutes west of Moose Jaw and we have a U-pick garden, which hasn’t really done well this year,” said David Turnmire, a salesperson with Prairie Bee Meadery.

“We do make a melon mead, but we can’t grow melons this year, it’s just too dry,” he added.

Although it’s been a tough year already, the vendors say they’re incredibly thankful for all the local support they’re receiving.

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