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Wet weather could raise price of produce

Posted at 11:53 PM, May 17, 2016

The wet weather is delaying some field planting for farmers. That could end up costing you more for produce at the grocery store this summer.

Dave Petrocco of Petrocco Farms in Brighton explains that when the crops don't get in the ground on-time, it delays their maturity date, which means there might be gaps in local supply at times during the summer months.

"We're behind," said Petrocco.

Petrocco Farms, for example, plants about 3,000 acres during a normal year. Typically, they would have 1,800 acres planted by mid-May. So far this year, only 900 acres of crops are in.

"That's a big problem," said Petrocco.

Produce farms typically stagger planting so veggies mature at different points during the summer and fall.

"The supermarket depends on a consistent supply," Petrocco said. If there's no local produce, those stores must look out-of-state or even out of the country.

"When a product has to come in from miles away, it adds to the cost of the product," he said.

Petrocco Farms supplies stores like King Soopers, Safeway and Sprouts. It also employs about 400 seasonal workers every summer to maintain the fields.

"We are dependent on each other," Petrocco said.

Petrocco isn't cursing the rain.

"Water in this high desert is a blessing," he said.

He just wants what every good farmer wants - perfect weather.

"We need sunshine," he said. "We need 80s and no hail."

Petrocco Farms grows green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, green beans, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, onions and about a half-dozen other vegetables.

Many are planted and weeded by hand and most are harvested by hand.

Correction: An earlier version of the story mentioned that Petrocco Farms supplies Whole Foods. In a statement, Petrocco Farms said, "...we do not sell to Whole Foods. (We) don't want large corporations to get credit for supporting local and family-owned businesses if they do not. The other retailers you listed are customers of ours and do, genuinely support local." -Kate Petrocco