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Columbia Farmers' Market vendors not concerned about frost threat

Saturday, October 6, 2012 | 4:09 p.m. CDT; updated 4:16 p.m. CDT, Saturday, October 6, 2012
Shoppers stroll through the Columbia Farmers' Market on Saturday morning. The first frost came about two weeks early, said Jim Thomas Jr. a vendor at the farmers market.

COLUMBIA — Ron Bonar said he could hear ice falling off the trees as he uncovered his crops at 5 a.m. in preparation for the Columbia Farmers' Market on Saturday.

Bonar — who was selling mushrooms, tomatoes, peas, peppers and scallions at the market — said he kept his greenhouse windows and doors shut tight to keep from losing indoor-grown produce Friday night. 

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The temperature dropped to 39 degrees in St. Louis on Friday night, and the temperature had been expected to hit between 30 and 33 degrees overnight in Columbia, according to the National Weather Service. Even so, many vendors at the farmers market said they went about their normal routines and weren't overly concerned about the weekend weather predictions.

Roger Sullivan, of Sullivans Berries, said if there were a frost, he would lose his raspberries. He also said, however, he wasn't worried enough about the possibility to buy additional frost cloth to cover the produce he had left. 

Once they started talking about the weather, some vendors expressed more concern about having another drought. They said several vendors dropped out of the market this year because of crop loss. 

"If we don't get snow or rain, we're going to go into the season dry," vendor Jim Thomas said.

He did wonder, though, whether more people would come to the market Saturday to buy their last round of produce because of the threat of frost or whether they would stay away because of the cold.  

Vendors Lee and Jen Miller said they had no anxiety about the weather forecast — whether it was frost or drought.  They have 10 greenhouses and a high tunnel, which enables them to grow produce through the winter.  

The farmers market will continue to run through Oct. 27. 

Supervising editor is Alison Matas.


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