Lowcountry farms prioritize worker’s safety as summer breaks heat records

As we move through the summer, 2023 continues to break heat records.
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 4:50 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2023 at 8:25 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - As we move through the summer, 2023 continues to break heat records.

In fact, 2023 breaks the record for the most consecutive days under an excessive heat warning, according to the National Weather Services.

Despite the heat, several Lowcountry farms said their produce output and quality of crops have not been negatively impacted.

Pete Ambrose, the owner of Ambrose Family Farm on Wadmalaw Island, said this year he has had the longest carrot and tomato seasons in his farm’s history.

“August is the hottest month, January is the coldest month,” Ambrose said. “If you can get through those, the rest of the time is really good.”

Ambrose said his main concern with the heat is his workers’ safety. He has shifted their hours, so they are no longer working in the middle of the day, only scheduling them in the mornings and evenings.

“I can’t put them out there when I wouldn’t go,” Ambrose said.

Director of Horticulture for Boone Hall Farms Katie Dickson said both farm’s agriculture and gardens have fared because they’ve seen a lot of rain.

Dickson echoed Ambrose’s concerns about worker safety. She said she asks her team to move into the shade when the sun is at its peak.

“My priority this summer, with the brutal humidity and heat, is really about keeping people watered,” Dickson said.

When it comes to their gardens, Dickson said they’re transitioning to tougher plants that require less water.

“We’re evolving our gardens to be tougher and more drought resistant,” Dickson said. “It’s just such a large property that we need to make more conscious plant choices and consider our water usage.