Drought forces produce farmers to shutdown early

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - The extended drought has forced some vendors at the Overland Park Farmers Market to shutdown early while others are thriving.

Vernon Thomas, of Edgerton, Kan., grows 10 acres of produce and has been taking his vegetables to the market for the last 10 years. Every year, he's had a stand twice a week from April to October. This year, Saturday will be his last day for 2012.

"There's nothing in here usable now," Thomas said walking through his field. "It's all gone, 100 percent loss."

Dennis and Lynda Clayborn, of Clayborn Farms in Fort Scott, Kan., will also use Saturday as their last day at the market. Other vendors say they may only have one or two weeks left before they do the same.

Still, some farmers have had better luck, according to market organizer Kristina Stanley.

"While Mother Nature has been less than kind to some of the farmers, there are some that are thriving," Stanley said. "There are still a lot of farmers with a lot of home grown produce."

Stanley says the hot temperatures have cut attendance by nearly a quarter. She says many farmers are going home with their trucks still half full, forcing them to donate much of their produce.

Stanely encourages shoppers to stop by the market on Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Saturdays from 6:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

The market will be open through the end of October.

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