National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

There is more drought coverage on the effects of the dry spell on fruit and vegetable output.

Here, a headline from an AP story reads "Small farmers struggle as drought kills vegetables"

This story from the Dodge City Globe says "Vegetable growers say bugs adding to crop woes."

The story says "a plague of insects" has added to drought woes, with aphids out in maximum force. With harvest well ahead of schedule, there is speculation among growers about an "iffy" Labor Day supply of watermelon,  and later, pumpkins in the fall.

Come to think of it, with Illinois and Indiana also hard hit by the drought, I would speculate we may be looking at a "hot" pumpkin market in the weeks ahead.

The USDA's weekly look at retail promotions of fruits and vegetables does reveal that promotions of summer vegetable fare are off compared with a year ago.

For example, sweet corn promotions the week of Aug. 3 were found in 7,298 stores, down from 9,565 stores a year ago.

Retail cucumber promotions were found in 3,557 stores, off from 4,711 stores at the same time a year ago.

Likewise, retail stores with ads promoting bell peppers were 2,044 for the week of Aug. 3, down from 3,698 stores at the same time a year ago.

Retailers with ads promoting squash numbered 4,497 stores, off from 6,138 stores a year ago.

So the evidence seems to point to a shortage of local vegetable supply to promote, but the facts are far from complete.

How short are "local vegetable deals" this year? Reader input welcome on this issue.