Sunday, July 17, 2011

Harvest: Days 2 & 3

Our second day of harvest began with rain, steady rain...and so -- Day 2 never got started. We cancelled picking for the day.

Ironically, this gave me time to visit the Raspberry Festival in town. I think I have been to this event before, but only for a brief stop -- probably because I had to go to town for something else. We are usually too busy having our own sort of Raspberry Festival to participate in the fancy one in town. I didn't take advantage of the $1 raspberry sundaes they were dishing out...Uh, why? I have that stuff every day. I opted for the poffertjes instead...that's a rare treat!

We had high hopes for picking today...Okay, maybe not HIGH hopes, but hopes anyway...Things started off well, with no rain, though it was very muggy, and everything was still wet from overnight showers...and we made it to lunch break (which is 2pm or so in our workday) but then the rains began again. The sky was getting lighter, but everything was drenched. The cost/benefit analysis was getting out of balance the wrong direction, so we sent the kids home...

I have to say that this season is not starting out in a good way. Looks like the next 2 days will be picking weather, but another downturn is coming Wednesday and Thursday. There we go again...

The challenge right now is that there is "old" fruit on the bushes. These are blossoms that matured ahead of the curve; the early blossoms that show up become ripe red berries that are ready before there are enough to make the machine pick worthwhile. They are getting soft now, and with the rain they can get mushy and {ominous music} moldy...

Even though it's raining, fruit continues to ripen, and these old soft berries are like little bombs of biological weapons in the midst of the rest of the crop. Our best defense is to get them off before they are too soft or moldy, and get our picking rotation going so the ripest fruit is getting cleaned off every other day (or so), making less fodder for the mold monster.

Pretty hard to do when it is raining...

Same difficulty with our other defense against mold: fungicide. It's hard to spray protection on the bushes when the rain immediately washes it off.

The wrong weather can sure take the fun out of farming...

But that's farming -- I think retirement for us will mean not caring what the weather does on any given day...Not sure I can imagine that.

In the meantime, our challenge is to make the best decisions about when to be out in the field picking to capitalize on the good weather moments. We have to balance getting the fruit off with not picking too many green berries as we do it; and especially in these wet times, avoid having so much wet debris -- leaves, too soft fruit, more leaves! -- that we are throwing out more than we are keeping. If we had our druthers, we'd always wait to pick until the bushes were completely dry...Can't do that with our current forecast. We've got to keep picking because in the long run, it will be better...but it can be a wet and mushy mess in the short term.

Poor crew! It's not gonna be a fun week...but they are troopers, and stick it out, all the while doing a good job in sometimes ugly conditions. We are so thankful for them!

And tomorrow should be a better day...

..Lord willin' and the creek don't rise.

1 comment:

Ridgely said...

Sooo enjoyed seeing you on Sat! Did you see the impressive lightening show on Sat. night....WOW! I'm sick of grey, but the sun is out today....here anyway, and hopefully up your way. I'm sick of soggy towel and sheets that never dry out....ugh!

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)