The south coast's June gloom has delayed the strawberry season at Formosa Nursery in Pitt Meadows, but it hasn't taken a bite out of the popular seasonal berries.
"Junuary" has put a chill on the month that transitions from spring to summer.
Environment Canada meteorologist David Jones confirms it's been an abnormally cold and wet June in the Fraser Valley, noting that the 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 was 13.7ºC.
That's well below the month's normal of 15.1ºC.
A total of 117 millimetres of rain has fallen on the region up to Monday. That's well above the average amount.
The totals have been inflated by large downpours on June 7 (20 mm), June 22 (16 mm) and June 23 (23 mm).
The June chill has delayed the strawberry picking season at Formosa, a certified organic farm located on the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows border.
Formosa grows and supplies blueberries to organic produce markets locally and abroad, and also has a few rows of strawberries.
Nursery manager Ting Wu said colder than usual weather has delayed the crop by a couple of weeks.
"[Cool weather] is like everything else," he said. "It slows things down."
Wu said berry plants are intelligent so they adapt very well.
"They'll adapt to whatever weather throws at them," he said.
Blueberries ripen in July and August. The high bush, northern varieties grown at Formosa get "stressed out" by cool temperatures and rainfall, Wu said.
"It delays also the crop, and the high fluctuation of temperature is very stressful on them, too," he said.
Ray Biln, general manager of Silver Valley Farms Ltd. in Maple Ridge, said most of this past spring, the farm's blueberries had very good pollination weather for its early season and mid-season varieties.
"However, our late season crop, which is our most valuable crop, did not bloom during the best pollination weather," he said, adding that rain and colder temperatures will reduce the farm's late season fruit.
The cold weather in June has effected that crop, Biln said.
"Another basic affect is the slow down of ripening," he noted. "However, there are positives and negatives to this. The positive is that pricing tends to get better as the season progresses, therefore if we are delayed by a week, it should equal favourable pricing. However, the negative is that, normally, the later the season starts, the less volume that gets harvested due to a later start."
Other effects, he said - more so from the rain and the rising river - are that the fields are saturated with water, preventing the proper maintenance of the crop.
"The crop needs protecting during this wet weather, and it has been very difficult getting our equipment into the fields for growers to do their work," Biln said.
While warmer temperatures and drier conditions are forecast for the first part of July, Biln is concerned about the predicted wide range of temperatures.
"There are highs of 30 degrees [Celcius] forecast with some lows around four degrees," he said.
"When temps get that cold, there is danger of damage to the cell wall structure of the fruit, which could lead to softer fruit during harvest."