Triple digit heat affects our crops

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- There's no end in sight to this heat. So what exactly is it doing to our crops? KEPR found out which ones the heat is destroying and which ones don't mind it.

"320 tomato plants out here, and then you see the chickens get to run through all this area through the year."

Richard Mann works hard to keep up with his farm in Mesa.

"This is cape gooseberries, not many of the family are enjoying them but I love them because it reminds me of home," said Mann.

And the triple digit heat isn't making his job any easier.

"You can see the leaves, all curled up, just hot hot hot."

Richard is from Zimbabwe. He used to farm back in Africa as a kid. Richard recently picked back up his hobby. He and his wife Rawline grow everything from heirloom tomatoes to sweet corn to baby cucumbers.

"The tomatoes are really struggling. The leaves are curled up, we're getting a lot of cracking cause getting we can't keep enough water on them so it's cracking the fruit," he said.

Richard says the water in this crop circle hasn't been turned off in a month.

"Lots of, lots of water going into this field of corn that we're standing next to right now, just to keep it wet and keep it growing."

But it's not all bad.

"Cucumbers are having a good time with it."

Along with the cucumbers, Richard's new oyster mushrooms are doing very well. They are kept indoors so Richard can control the environment.

"Look at that, isn't that so pretty."

They're a huge hit. Richard is the only one growing these in the Columbia Basin. He's selling them at the Pasco Farmer's Market along with some of his other crops.

"I just love providing what we do here to the people in the Tri-Cities, absolutely love it. I have people who are like ehh we'll try it, very tentative and then come storming up to the table the next day and say, I want some of those mushrooms, they were sooo good," he said.

Richard credits his love and passion for farming for a successful summer of crops. He's learning to beat the heat.

Local fruit farmers tell us the heat is affecting their crops too. It's causing the fruit to fall before it can ripen.