(Aug. 29) Vegetable growers in the upper Midwest continue to deal with the after-effects of heavy late-August rains, but fruit crops in the region were not damaged, and some even benefited, according to grower-shippers and industry officials.

As a result of the rain, prices for several vegetables were higher the week of Aug. 27, said Kirk Holthouse, sales manager for Holthouse Farms of Ohio Inc., Willard. Cucumbers were up about $6, squash and zucchini $4 and bell peppers $2, he said.

“As far as markets, industry-wide it’s affected everything on price,” he said. “Everybody’s affected on quality the week after a big rain.”

Often, Holthouse said, rain damage can be hard to see. Many of Holthouse’s recent pepper packs, for instance, looked great going into boxes, Holthouse said, but were rejected on arrival because of bacteria damage. The company’s fields received up to 6 inches of rain over a three- or four-day period, he said.

The effects of the rain were expected to diminish Labor Day supplies, Holthouse said.

Rain likely would have at least a slightly negative effect on potato volumes in central Wisconsin, where the bulk of the state’s spuds are grown, said Dick Okray, co-owner of Okray Family Farms, Plover, Wis.

Ironically, though, it wasn’t the deluge that made national headlines that will have an effect, Okray said, but lighter rains expected at the tail end of the month. Those rains could wash away some fields and leave spuds exposed before they’re able to be harvested, he said.

But because of drought conditions, the gullywashers earlier in the month left barely a mark on fields, Okray said.

“The ground was so dry that even after the 2½-day period, when we got 5 inches, there was no water standing,” he said. “It was just amazing.”

On the fruit side, the rains were expected to be a boon to apple growers in Michigan, said Denise Yockey, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, DeWitt.

Fruit had been expected to be on the small side because of drought-like conditions through most of the summer, Yockey said. However, the rains were expected to boost some varieties by one or two sizes, she said.