Washington Blueberry Harvest Pt 2
Washington Blueberry Commission president Alan Schreiber says mother nature has been cooperative from the early stages on ...
SCHREIBER ... "The conditions right before harvest, where the fruit is sizing up is a particularly sensitive time and we ended up with some very good conditions and they're big and blue and they taste great!"
Schreiber says this mid-harvest part of the summer gives us a nice look as to where we stand towards the end of the season ...
SCHREIBER ... "When we're harvesting, so is Oregon and British Columbia, but so are Michigan and New Jersey. New Jersey is just wrapping up its season and Michigan normally would be further along as well, but the later we are there's less competition from other growing regions."
But, overall, Schreiber says so far, so good ...
SCHREIBER ... "Everybody I talk to is cautiously optimistic. We still have quite a way to go. There's a lot of fruit yet to come in, but the weather conditions are positive. We've got adequate labor supply. Insect pressures seems to be moderate to low and things seem to be lining up for an excellent harvest."
Scheiber says harvest is probably about 75% complete in Eastern Washington and roughly a third of the way through in Western Washington.
BL: Welcome back to another "Fruit Bites" brought to you by Valent U.S.A. With us again is Valent's Allison Walston. And this week Allison, tell me how growers prepare for harvest.
AW: Preparing for harvest starts way before it is time to pick the fruit. Right now, growers are keeping micronutrients at optimum levels in the orchard. Apples can get watercore if the ratio of nitrogen to calcium is too high, leading to water retention in the apples.
BL: apple trees need Calcium too?
AW: Yes, Calcium levels can also play an important role in fruit firmness and help reduce bitter pit.
BL: What other types of conditions occurring now impact harvest?
AW: Fruit can get stressed by heat and the sun. Too much direct sun on a fruit warms up the skin and basically starts to cook it. So growers use shade cloth, overhead evaporative cooling or sunburn protectants to reduce fruit sunburn.
BL: Wow that is a lot to consider
AW: yes and this is all while dealing with insects, mites and disease pests too!
BL: Well, thanks Allison. Join us again next time for Fruit Bites, brought to you by Valent. Until then, I'm Bob Larson.