Drought takes on toll on local farmers market

Sherri Harbel (foreground) and Louis Kamphefner (background) had tomatoes, herbs, eggplant, kale and other items for sale yesterday at the Westport Plaza Farmers Market. They say the drought is impacting their business, either by reduced yields or requiring intensive and expensive irrigation.

Most Wednesdays in the summer Midtown residents stop by the Westport Plaza Farmers Market at the corner of Westport Road and Wyoming Street.  The soaring temperatures yesterday didn’t stop the flow of customers, but vegetable vendors report the heat is having an effect on their profits. Louis Kamphefner of Strawberry Lane Farms in Trenton, Missouri estimates he’s getting  one-third to one-half less produce than he should be getting at this time of the season. He’s been growing vegetables to sell locally for 10 years. Sherri Harbel, who grows in eastern Kansas City around 19th and College, says her crops have been okay, but only because she irrigates everything. “I avoided opening my water bill for three days,” she says. “That’s where I see the impact.”

The Westport Plaza Farmers Market is open from 4:30 to 7:30 on Wednesdays. Visit them on Facebook for more information.


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