I don’t recall having a heat wave during any harvest that has lasted as long as this one has. I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to have the temperature only reach the 80’s yesterday and again today.
And we can’t tell you because we are all too tired to rejoice in any way that requires exertion.
The heat has been rough on everyone…and what I feared would happen to our crop is happening at this very moment. The berries are drying up instead of ripening.
Not to mention that quite a bunch were picked by the NE wind on Sunday, and are now lying on the ground.
I think we can safely say that this year will be categorically BAD.
Hopefully it is not so for all raspberry growers. Farms that are using the Wakefield variety did not have the same kind of winter damage. Also, Wakefields ripen later than our Meekers do, so they will not have as many heat wave days during their harvest time. I hope they do well.
For our part, I am thankful for a great crew who has maintained their productivity under the most difficult conditions…and even retained a sense of humor most days!
As Randy told them on the 96 degree day with the hot NE wind: “You have earned my admiration and respect.”
At this point, we know we will be picking this week, but we don’t know what next week will bring. Next week will be the 4th week of our 5 week harvest season…If the cooler weather refreshes the raspberry bushes, there may be enough to make it worthwhile to pick and process.
But it’s been a long and very hot season so far, and we are doubtful that much recovery will be made. I hope that we are operating as normal – but doubtless there will be some tricky decisions to make about how, what and when to pick.
I have to admit that some days I’ve added why? to those questions. My bad.
This will be one for the books: lots of damage after a mild winter; many days near 90 degrees, and some over 90; hot NE wind and 80 degrees at 7am; smoke cover that starts to ease the heat wave...
These are not the kind of records that we like to set…
But as we say, “There’s always next year…”