East Tennessee farmers say this summer’s weather better for crops than last year’s

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – East Tennessee has seen a lot of afternoon summer showers this year. There have been many more than last year, and that means a different kind of impact on crops.

“Here we’re looking at the blueberries. It’s unusual for us to have them this late in the season, but we’re still going to have blueberries for a few more weeks,” said Jeffrey Fox at The Fruit and Berry Patch in Knoxville.

This year’s crops look a lot different than last year’s. It is a much brighter outcome.

“What did hurt us was we lost 80 percent of our crop last year from the drought,” Fox said.

Fox examined his fields Wednesday and saw a lot of late bloomers. Ideal weather for blackberries would be hot summer days with a little moisture here and there.

“We just have to go with the flow. There’s not a whole lot. Either we have it or we don’t,” Fox said.

Last year at this time, East Tennessee was in the middle of a drought with rainfall 1.84 inches below where it was supposed to be, which hurt crops. Rainfall this year is already over 2.89 inches, but all that rain has been keeping things cooler than usual too. When there are usually more than 30 days around 90 degrees, per year, so far there have only been three.

“Three or four weeks ago, they were picking five to six buckets full of blackberries. And then we took this cool spill right at the Fourth of July which slowed them from coming in, but it didn’t affect the blueberries. Blueberries actually did well with it,” Fox said.

Each year has its own weather difficulties though which is something Fox says is just part of the job.

When asked what perfect weather would be he joked, “We’d probably have to go to Disney World, to make-believe land.”

Fox said they are looking into fall crops too and cooler than normal temperatures will help pumpkins grow.

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