Local farmers say season has been tough so far - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Local farmers say season has been tough so far

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By Sonya Stevens
sstevens@abcnews4.com

WADMALAW ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- With the weather warming up, farmer's markets are starting back up all across the Lowcountry.

It's a chance to support the local economy while eating healthy, but it's been a rough couple of months for one local farmer that has battled drought, excessive rain, and cold temperatures.

The weather is always changing: it's something that Pete Ambrose has learned first hand  in his 40 years of farming.   

"You plant up front for a harvest date and then when something like this comes along, a drought or cold weather or extreme heat, everything is going to change that," said Pete Ambrose of Ambrose Farms.

So you have to learn to roll with the punches and have plenty of options to keep your crops safe from the elements.

"I have irrigation, I have hoop houses to grow in to try to keep too much rain off or heat when I need it," said Ambrose. "We plant this tall grass out here in between a lot of crops that keep the wind down. We just try to have insurance and that is what all these different things are."

There are 30 different types of vegetables and fruits grown on the farm and they all have there strengths and weaknesses.

"Some are cold hardy, some are heat tolerant and some are like weeds they just grow no matter what you do," said Ambrose.  

This year, the strawberry crop has been difficult because of the cold weather and excessive rain.

"The skin is so tender that any rain will just bruise them and then disease come in and will make them rot," said  

But you wouldn't be able to tell that from the rows of red berries that the public can pick from every day but Sunday during strawberry season.

Meanwhile collards are one crop that don't mind the chilly and soggy conditions.

"They like cold, wet weather and other greens tolerate the cold and wet like broccoli and cauliflower and turnips and rutabagas," said Ambrose.

And with local farmer's markets returning it will be even easier for you to get your hands on some of the area's home grown fruits and vegetables.

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