Weather Wednesday: How weather affects a local crop and your toothpaste

Weather Wednesday

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – When you break off a stem, rub the leaves, and breathe in the scent of fresh mint, you will think you just bit a piece of gum. Long before chewing that piece of gum or squeezing that tube of toothpaste, the mint has to battle Michigan’s ever-changing weather.

St. Johns, as known as Mint City, has had a long history with mint. To this day, there are still three mint growers in Clinton County. Eugene Livingston is a mint farmer for Livingston Farms in St. Johns, and he says mint has survived decades of Michigan weather.

Livingston shared that mint likes hot weather with temperatures in the upper 80s to even 90 degrees. However, with the heat, mint needs rainfall. The plant’s shallow roots need rounds of rain to help it grow.

The weather can also affect the flavor and smell. When mint is harvested in the late summer, that is a more desirable flavor. Since we do not find mint leaves in our gum, the mint flavor comes from mint oil. The warmer the weather, the more oil the mint crop can put out.

Check out the video above to see how the weather can affect your favorite mint varieties, spearmint, and peppermint.

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