Local vegetable crop doing quite well


Monday, July 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


The sometimes rainy forecast is part of the reason for a good corn crop this year. News on Six reporter Emory Bryan is all ears in Bixby with the story.

Farmers down here tell us the local crops are doing well. Now much of what people find in the grocery store comes from far away - that means the price is generally higher and the quality lower than what you find out here on the farm.

When Donna Smith looks for a good tomato, she starts by looking close to the farm where they're grown. "These have more of the tomato taste, and that's what you want." And she's been able to find ones with plenty of taste down in Bixby - the hub of vegetable farming in northeast Oklahoma. The tomato crop is doing well - in fact, much of it hasn't yet been harvested.

Farm hands are tying up the vines now to keep tomatoes from rotting as they ripen. On the farm - that's where they ripen - on the vine, creating a better taste. Eugene Conrad of Conrad Farms: "The varieties they have developed for shipping are more durable, they stand up longer, they might not have quite the flavor of fresh picked, we don't have to worry about shipping it across the United States."

Eugene Conrad's family farms 300 acres of vegetables. He thinks this crop is pretty good. "The rains have come, you couldn't ask for better. The sweet corn season is about 2/3 done, we've got a couple more plantings other than the one we're working on, so that season is going to last a little longer than usual."

The local squash is in - and the watermelons are coming, along with the last of the sweet corn and cantaloupes. It's shaping up to be a very good year.

And if you're looking for good corn, whether it's in the store or out of the farm, look for ears with full kernels, that still have some give left - if they're indented - they're too old. Fresh local sweet corn is still available for the next couple of weeks.