Torrential Rain Ended Just In Time For Produce Growers - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/5/04-East Texas

Torrential Rain Ended Just In Time For Produce Growers

"We just didn't need it time after time. Once a week would have been great, but time after time!"

Time after time, rows and rows of J.T. Lemley's tomato plants were beaten down... by the rain that was unrelenting.

"All [the rows of tomatoes] should be [about four feet] tall and solid with big tomatoes. And [several others] have just a few smaller tomatoes on them."

His crop goes to his store near Canton, and to many other folks who sell Lemley tomatoes at their roadside stands. As he looked to the sky, he prayed for the sun which now is smiling on him again.

"We've always had enough [tomatoes to sell], and will have enough for our retail customers, but it's the wholesale that's off."

His loss is small. But East Texas peaches were hit too.

Darren Rozell: "Just a couple more days of rain and we would have lost a couple of varieties [of peaches] for sure."

Rozell had thousands of bushels on the limb of disaster at his farm west of Tyler.

"We couldn't get what was ready to get picked," he says.  "We were really sweating bullets, but everytime there was a break we went out and threw a fungicide application on and I think that really saved us."

Just a few have brown rot fungus growth. And for Rozell, just a few more days would have cost thousands of dollars.

"The little spores [of brown rot], when that one touches that one, it'll have it before it gets to the store."

Despite the few losses, the raisers of natures bounty say it'll still be a good start to the summer if the gray skies stay away.

"Niinety degrees and wind, and they'll come on back out," Lemley says.

Morgan Palmer, reporting. 

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