We don't like to see the crew working in these conditions:
...and I will admit that a lot of our reasons for that are selfish. The main one being fear that the crew will not return tomorrow!
Because, even if it rains, we'll likely be picking again.
The timing of this rain is very bad as the bushes are reaching the peak of production. As I've said before, we started the season with mold, and it's always there, just waiting to blow up...And these are the kind of conditions that can cause an explosion in mold growth...lots of moisture, lots of ripe sweet fruit...no drying time, more rain in the forecast.
The best thing we can do is keep picking, and try to keep the ripest fruit off the bushes, away from becoming fuel for the mold.
Because we also process our own fruit, our challenges continue after picking. Our buyers have specifications that we must meet for product quality, so this has an impact on all our decisions in the field, and how things are run in the plant.The past two days have been brutal for the processing crew as we have had a significant jump in production, and more mold to clean up from the rain. That means a lot of hours of running fruit over the line.
They've been putting in their winter hours too.
And it all combines for an increase in the stress level as decisions must be made almost hourly as conditions change...and it's pretty hard to know if you're making the right decisions. The disaster we want to avoid is that mold explosion I mentioned earlier. When that happens (yes, it has happened before -- not happy memories), you can lose the ability to make buyer specs, and then what do you do with the fruit?
There are a lot of berry farmers worrying about this possibility right now.
But we're not there yet...I'm choosing to be hopeful, because -- why not be hopeful? You might as well be...worrying won't change anything, and will just make you miserable until the disaster comes. (And keeping it real: this is a recent change for me. I formerly believed that worrying was akin to due diligence.) We got more rain today than was predicted, and one more day of this system is on the weather forecast. We just have to get through the next day of downward pressure, and then we can start picking our way out of trouble.
It's going to be interesting.