Urban farms still picking in extreme heat

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Urban farms have a plan for plants in extreme heat. (19 June 2017) [Sourve: 3TV/CBS 5 News] Urban farms have a plan for plants in extreme heat. (19 June 2017) [Sourve: 3TV/CBS 5 News]
Crops are under extra stress with the extreme heat. (19 June 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News] Crops are under extra stress with the extreme heat. (19 June 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News]
GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

When the heat becomes extreme, urban farms take additional measures to keep their crops alive. 

Tomalchoff Farm, at 75th Avenue and Bethany Home Road in Glendale, has 20 acres of crops ready to pick.

"We're out irrigating today," Bill Tolmachoff said, as water flowed down his rows of tomatoes, peas, corn and okra.

"The okra loves the heat," he said.

Cucumbers and melons are also still on the vines in the fields, which flooded for 12 hours today.

Most of the farm work is done in the early mornings, before dawn.

"We try to get the picking done early, because that's when the sugar is up in the fruit. Once it gets hot, the sugar runs back into the roots," Tolmachoff said.

He says the intense heat sent the crops into "survival mode," which is typical for late June.   

"Instead of producing more big fruit, what you see is what you're going to have. You're not getting 4-pound tomatoes. They'll be half a pound now," he said.

Still, a few mornings each week, the farm opens for "u-pick," and the farm stand out front will remain open for the next few weeks, too.

The monsoon rain, combined with the heat, usually kills the crops in early July.

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Jared DillinghamJared anchors the weekend newscasts at 5, 6, 9 and 10pm on both 3TV and CBS5. He also reports during the week for both stations.

Click to learn more about Jared.

Jared Dillingham

Over his decade in Phoenix, Jared has worked all shifts at 3TV, including a yearlong stint anchoring the weekend morning show.

Since 2007, Jared has covered everything from Senator John McCain's campaign for president, to the Jodi Arias trial, to the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Jared grew up in New York, and graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in broadcast journalism and political science.

After internships at News12 Long Island and NBC in Washington, DC, Jared moved to beautiful "Big Sky Country." He spent a year at KRTV in Great Falls, Montana, before moving to KREM in Spokane, Washington.

The Valley has truly become "home" for Jared. He lives in Phoenix, and spends his mornings listening to as many news/political podcasts as possible, while walking his (now elderly) rescue dogs, Gabby and Bree.

On his days off, Jared can be found at any of the local restaurants which have popped up in the city since he first moved here, or hiking Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain.

He also travels as much as possible and runs a blog with advice on visiting cities around the world.

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