A relatively wet spring followed by a spell of sizzling hot weather has produced a smaller-than-usual initial blueberry harvest at Meadow Ridge Berry Farms. The Sandhu family has run the farm for about 12 years and production of the first variety of blueberries is down a bit from this time last year.
"Last year, we got way more off the plants than this year," said family member Sandeep Sandhu. "The variety we're picking
right now seems to be down. "The rain that came beforehand and sudden heat may have made the season start a little earlier, too," she added. "When there's sunshine, they get a little
bit bigger. In the rain, they don't get a chance to get as big."
This is the early part of the blueberry season, which runs from early July to September, with three varieties coming one right after the other.
"There's lot's more product out there," Sandhu said.
Ting Wu, who manages Formosa Nursery organic blueberry farm, located
on the border of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, said the first crop of blueberries appears to be good so far.
Formosa grows and supplies blueberries to organic produce markets locally and abroad, and also has a few rows of strawberries.
Wu said a few berries got sunburned by the recent spell of hot sun, but so long as the temperatures remain seasonal, it shouldn't affect the berries too much.
He said blueberries are "just like people" when it comes to their tolerance "We're used to medium temperatures. They like cooler weather, not too hot."
This past June's weather was fairly moderate compared to the same time last year, when "Junuary" wrapped its arms around southern B.C. Mean temperature
- an average of the coldest and warmest temperatures each day - recorded at the Abbotsford weather station for the first 25 days of June 2012 was 13.7ÂºC. That was well below the month's normal of 15.1ÂºC. Last June, Wu told The TIMES that the high-bush northern varieties grown at Formosa get "stressed out" by cool temperatures and rainfall.
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