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