How the Summer Heat Wave Affects Your Groceries

You're not the only one going crazy from this season's abnormally warm weather

Many Americans are sweating through this unusually hot summer, but probably none more so than the nation's farmers -- and some in very unusual ways.

Drought-like conditions can cause crops to stop growing, which makes for smaller, less plentiful fruits and vegetables. In Germany, restaurant-goers are seeing smaller French fries because hotter temperatures have meant shrinking potatoes.

Some of us are feeling the heat in our grocery bills, too. In Delaware, sun-scorched key ingredients in chicken feed, like soybean and corn, are forcing chicken farmers to get feed from other parts of the country, thus increasing the price of chicken at the supermarket.

Even your local dairy case isn't immune to the heat. You know how you don't feel like eating much when it's hot outside? With recent high temperatures morning, noon and night, dairy cows in the Northeast have been eating less, therefore producing less milk, according to experts at Pennsylvania State University.

But the news isn't all bad. Brad Rippey, a meteorologist at the United States Department of Agriculture, says temperatures can have both positive and negative effects on crops. "The nation's breadbasket, the Midwest, has been consistently warm but rarely hot," he says. "As a result of the warmth and abundant -- to locally excessive -- rainfall, most Midwestern crops have developed quickly and thrived in a greenhouse-like environment."

So it seems you're not the only one wondering what to do with all that zucchini in your garden.

How has the heat affected produce in your area?

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