A customer approached Bush Farms on its opening day Wednesday, her face quickly conveying her disappointment as she scanned the tables of produce.
“No corn yet?” she asked.
Chris Bush, co-owner of the produce and plant stand off Kansas Highway 32, shook her head. “About week,” she told the woman.
The wet weather, while a welcome reprieve from last year’s drought, has not been so friendly to Bush Farms’ famous corn crop, which draws customers from miles — even states — away.
“This is the first time ever that we won’t have corn on the Fourth of July since 1976,” said Bush, who runs the stand and the 40-acre farm on the other side of the highway with her husband, Ray Bush.
While many have been happy with all the rain the state has received this spring, Bush Farm, 11300 Kaw Dr., is opening a little later than usual because of the weather. Typically they open around June 22 to sell produce and are open through Nov. 1 with their fall crops. The plentiful rain and slightly cooler temperatures this year didn’t provide enough crops for opening at the regular time.
“It being the Fourth of July, we thought we just had to open today, even if we didn’t have corn,” she said. “…It’s beautiful weather for people — but not for farmer’s crops.”
This is the second year in a row that the Bush Farm’s produce season has been thrown off by the weather. Last year, the warm spring allowed the Bushes to open the produce stand on June 8.
“We have never opened that early, ever,” Chris Bush said. Then, the high heat and drought of last summer set in. “Everything burned up, and at the end of July we were done.”
She said it was too cold and rainy this spring for the Bush Farms corn. The Bushes usually have eight to 10 acres of corn and plant an acre every 10 days, but they lost the first two acres.
“When we planted the corn, it rotted in the ground,” she said. “The same with green beans — it was too cold and too rainy for the early green beans. We have green beans now, but that’s a quarter of what it should be.”
In addition to the green beans, the Bushes also have cabbage, potatoes, onions and squash out for their first week. They also are selling peaches shipped in from Tennessee and Missouri, and until their own tomatoes are ready about July 25, they have some shipped in from Arkansas.
Another negative side effect of the weather is the profusion of weeds. Chris Bush said the farm’s potatoes and onions are currently covered by weeds, and that’s what Ray Bush has been devoting his time to — rototilling the ground to try to control the spread of weeds.
“The weeds take over,” Chris Bush said. “It is a nightmare to harvest — its called Johnson grass, and its one of our worst enemies. It’s horrible, and when it rains, it just grows rampant. And you can’t spray, because it’ll kill your potatoes and onions.”
Chris Bush said the farm’s watermelon and cantaloupe likely would be delayed until August due to the weather.
Though the rain has caused some woes, this year’s produce should be better, if delayed. The produce stand is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Independence Day, but otherwise will have its regular hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 12-4 p.m. on Saturdays. The stand also now accepts Visa for those who would like to pay with credit.