Smoke hurting local Growers and Crafters Market

MEDFORD, Ore. — Every Thursday, vendors pitch their tents and sell their products at the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market in Hawthorne Park. However, poor air quality is leading to decreased sales.

“It’s probably one of the worst years we’ve had so far,” said Madeline Rutkai, Fry Family Farm.

“Foot traffic is down about 50%,” said Christi Reilly, TerraSol Organics Farm.

Vendors at the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market in Medford said the smoke is hurting their bottom line.

“We were probably making twice as much money before the smoke came,” Rutkai said.

“Smoke rolls in and it quiets down a lot,” Reilly said.

It’s also hurting their farm.

“Certain sensitive crops – their leaves are burning. Particularly, when the ash is falling on those leaves,” Reilly said.

“Our crops are so stunted by the smoke that we can’t produce as much and so it’s really hard for us farmers,” Rutkai said.

“You can still water them and tend to them but they’re not going to be thriving as they would if we had clear skies,” Reilly said.

It’s a chronic issue farmers have been dealing with for the past few years.

“Our profits go down, our business goes down, and our crop is smaller,” Rutkai said.

But they say it is what it is and they’ll keep setting up shop until fall.

“We appreciate everyone that comes out to the farmer’s market and we’re so glad that customers do come and support local farmers when they can,” Reilly said.

TerraSol Organics Farm said it’s taken part in the market for several years now and says it’s used to lower numbers due to smoke. The farm said, because of it, it’s pivoting towards winter sales, rather than relying on summer sales.

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