While I’ve been alternating between apathy and anxiety, (Hormones! Thou canst be a curse!), the world continues on. Nobody is waiting for me to get my act together, which is a good thing.
So now I suddenly find myself with harvest only a few weeks off. (Dear Lord, please may it be THREE weeks, and not TWO? Not even TWO and a HALF? Please?)
We were surprised to find that we had quite a bit of winter damage when the berries leafed out this spring. The winter weather cooled gradually, and warmed gradually, so we thought we would be fine. However, something happened that the berries didn’t like. We’re not sure if it was the cold snap in early December, or the snow and ice in early March. It doesn’t really matter because we can do nothing about either…though we like to pretend that at least we KNOW what happened out there.
This bush seems to be wearing a fascinator...(Sorry. Nerd humor.)
We have a section of our field that is elderly, in raspberry plant terms, and we had decided to leave it for one more year of harvesting…But it got hammered by the winter, and now it looks pathetic and has rows that are hardly worth picking. Hindsight! Well…you know the saying.
Row on the left: our young vigorous field. On the right: one of our older fields. Note the uneven heights of the bushes, and smaller size overall.
There are other areas of the field that show a fair bit of damage as well. The youngest, most vigorous fields show very little damage. Wherever there is damage, it is seen in that the tops of the bushes never leafed out. The good news is that whatever did leaf out is growing well, and blooming with abandon.
Of course, bloom time means that we have about a million or so hired hands out in the field…or is it hired feet? Ninety beehives are parked out there, and as usual, the field literally hums.
In raspberry industry scuttlebutt, word is that the price could be high. Apparently, other raspberry growing areas of the world have not fared well of late – most notably Chile and Serbia – and the freezer stock is depleted. We don’t get too excited about such reports as they do not always pan out. If it does this year, it will be a nice offset because it’s obvious the tonnage will be down.
We have much more to think about right now than what the price will be. There are fields and machines to get ready, crews to educate, flats to wash, bees to keep happy, and pests to combat...
…and make sure that these little beauties grow up, turn red, and are ready for their ride to the freezer.