With the exception of .39” of rain that gave us a welcomed Sunday off, the weather has been very cooperative for the rest of picking season. We only have a few days left, and, contrary to our early expectations, it has been a good year.
The endless winter left us with the conviction that there was no way the bushes could grow large enough to support a normal fruit set, but the dry, (somewhat)warmer weather in June allowed them to grow like gangbusters! The continuing mild temperatures, though decidedly un-summerish, made the plants very comfortable and they set a lot of fruit, and a lot of that fruit grew large, and pretty! And once ready to harvest, there were lots of berries coming off right away. This made for challenging times in the processing plant as they had lots of fruit to get over the belt and into the pails each day.
We filled our orders a week ago. With plenty of fruit still on the bushes, we have picked into barrels since. Rarely do we pick for juice this many days of our season – but it’s all good, though we all are ready for the end. It’s time, too, as more than half of our crew is involved in the Fair this week, and soon football practices start, and really, it’s weird to pick this late into August.
The bushes look like this now...
...instead of this.
You can see the yellow leaves of this year's fruiting canes. They are dying down now, and the darker green is the primocanes that will become next year's floracanes (fruiting canes).
In our first year field, the primocanes have grown tremendously...See how far above the post they are? This winter these long canes will get tied and looped over to be ready for next year's harvest.
Even our older fields have very good new growth, which is hopeful for next year's crop -- though there is a lot a weather between now and then.
Of course, The Farmer spent a lot of time doing this: unloading & re-loading the machines. It kept him quite busy -- and that's a very good thing! He was happy to switch to barrels this past week, because then he could be busy pounding posts in the baby field, and that's done now too! A lot of pressure has been relieved.
A couple of days from now, picking will be finished. We'll miss seeing these kids who have been here as much, if not more, than they have been at their own homes. They are a hard-working, quality crew, and we are SO thankful for them...and we like them...and they make us laugh...and they keep coming back.
God bless them!
Despite the endless winter, and the downpours at the start of harvest, it became a great year in the annals of Honcoop Harvest History...We're thankful, and relieved,
and ready for post-harvest life...soon!