Hotter weather has farmers hoping for a greater demand for local produce

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Take a season where Alaska has seen several record high temperatures, combined with twenty-plus hours of sunlight daily.

The result: Strong crops for local farmers.

In the Mat Su, everything from leafy greens to livestock hay is flourishing and farmers are enjoying the ideal conditions. Wayne Brost operates a hay farm at Point MacKenzie. He says this year's weather has yielded a crop of average size, but the quality of his hay is the best it's ever been.

"This year has been exceptionally good both for the producer and the consumer," Brost told KTUU. "On a wet year, we have toted and handle this (hay) so much more and by the time we're done we don't have as good of an end result as far as quality."

Brost, a former dairy farmer, generates income primarily from selling his hay to livestock owners in the state. He's pleased that he's able to offer a quality feed to give local options to feed stores and customers that normally rely on hay that's been imported to Alaska.

The high-quality yield on Brost's farm isn't the only success story of the 2019 farming season.

Near the Butte, Paula Giauque and her family run Gold Nugget Farms. Most of their 40-acre farm operation is dedicated to leafy green vegetables, potatoes, and carrots. The conditions this summer have actually yielded crops so quickly that the farmers are having trouble moving produce quickly enough.

"We'll have a fresh plant each week that we go to market," Giauque said, "With the extra heat we've had some of them pile on top of each other and that's usually typical at the beginning of the year, but this year it seems like we've had more of them come in at the same time."

Still, too much produce is better than not enough, and Giauque says now is the time when folks should be looking for the "Alaska Grown" seal in their local produce aisles.

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