GENEVA CO., Ala. (WDHN) — A mid-June heat wave is causing concerns for local farmers. Many of them headed to the annual Slocomb Tomato Festival.

The festival resumes this weekend after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Despite a late crop
due to a March freeze, area growers have been predicting a bumper crop this year.

John Aplin’s family has been selling homegrown fruit and veggies since the early 1950s. Despite a late freeze in March, this year’s Slocomb tomato crop appears to be one of its finest.

However, the current heat wave with temperatures bordering triple digits is causing issues not only for tomatoes but essentially all things that grow from the ground.

“The hotter it gets the faster they’ll ripen,” owner of Aplin Farm, John Aplin said. “But then if it gets in the 100s, we never want to get in the triple-digits for an extended period of time but that really messes up the crop for an extended period of time.”

Despite the effect of the inflation on the increase of fuel, fertilizer, and labor, the Aplin family did not want to raise the price for those who ‘u-pick.’

“The price of everything has gone up,” Aplin said. “The price to grow these tomatoes has gone way up. We’re still making a profit on what we charged last year, but we were bound and determined to keep something the same price, and this year that’s going to be tomatoes.”

For one Dothan resident and her granddaughter who ‘u-pick,’ they say there’s nothing like a Slocomb tomato.

“One thing I do every year, I’m so proud Aplin Farms has peas, tomatoes because grocery stores are high now, you won’t be able to buy none at the store,” Dothan resident Rosa Smith said. “So I’m just proud of him that he is able to plant this stuff here so that we can pick.”

Aplin Farms is located at 2729 North County Road 49. They are open Mondays through Saturdays and closed on Sundays.