So – a whole harvest has gone by and I wrote not a word about it on the blog.
On the last day, I realized I had not even taken any pictures…so I quickly snapped a bunch. Not accurately representative of the season that was, but it salved my conscience about documenting family history.
I would give this harvest season a MEH minus rating.
The good part: lovely weather, only a couple of days in the heat stress range, no mold, only one morning of rain, good kids working for us…The operation of the farm went very well.
The bad part: people didn’t want to buy raspberries. Orders were slow in coming, and then short when they came. I thought it was just a way to get us to accept a very low price and still, we would sell it all. Nope. That was weird…the prices we heard weren’t that horrible for us, and no more orders were forth-coming. We thought we would oversupply the juice market (the lowest price/quality market level) when so many of us filled our orders early and started picking into barrels… but then the second bad thing came up: there just weren’t very many berries out there.
Well, that’s not exactly fair. There were a lot of berries out there, but many stayed really small. For a while, it was like we were growing miniature raspberries. And we didn’t know why…no heat stress; we were watering as much as we could…The plants seemed to be unable to take in enough to grow all the fruit big and plump. Little berries just don’t weigh much, so it was no banner year for tonnage.
The third bad development: the season was one of our shortest ever. We picked fairly well the first two weeks, and then production started dropping off, precipitously. From start to finish, harvest lasted 25 days, and 3 of those we weren’t even picking!
This is our 30th harvest, and we still haven’t seen it all. And we are doggone optimists. Already, we are forgetting what lies behind, and thinking about next year. This is just farming life. Besides, it could have been raining while all this stuff was happening – and that would have been way worse! So, hey – there’s usually something to be thankful for.
Let me encourage those of you who are on a fixed income…A wildly fluctuating income is no picnic either. The year ahead will be a belt-tightening, character-building one for sure!