Pitt Meadows farmer Steve Aujla is the first to admit that farmers like to whine about the weather.
Only this season, with its record-breaking warm and sunny streak, he just can't find much to gripe about.
Despite this past weekend's rain, it's been a boom year.
"Farmers like to complain, but there's not too much to complain about now," said Aujla, who has worked for Aujla's Farms Ltd., with his father Dave and brother Harb, since 1981.
"The weather's been pretty favourable," he said. "It's always nice to have a hand from Mother Nature."
Their 120-hectare blueberry crop, which wrapped up a few weeks ago, thrived in the late-summer heat.
He had to do a bit more irrigation, but it was a worthwhile trade-off to avoid the rain-induced fruit rot that is the bane of all berry farmers.
And his cranberry crop, which was just recently ripened on 16 hectares and will be ready to harvest soon, coloured and sized up nicely under the late-fall sunshine.
It was the driest August and September in more than a century in Vancouver, according to Environment Canada.
Until this past weekend, less than eight millimetres of rain fell during the past two months - the driest it's been over that period since records were first kept in 1896.
While Aujla was commenting on the results in the field, Mike Stamatakos is feeling the impact further down the production line.
Speaking on behalf of Ocean Spray Cranberries, he said the company opened a new $26-million receiving station in Richmond just in time for the crop - which could top 35 million kilograms.
"It's a big crop," Stamatakos said.
Cranberries, which are worth from $25 million to $35 million annually, depending on the size of the crop, are B.C.'s largest berry crop in both value and volume. The Lower Mainland produces 20 per cent of the global cranberry supply, he said.
The berries will come into the station at a rate of 1.4 million kilograms a day.
They will be sorted, cleaned of leaves, and tested for quality at the new facility, which has a capacity of up to 45 million kilograms.
Stamatakos said the plant could easily hand the 2012 crop, which local cranberry farmers are beginning to deliver now.
"We really had limited capability to sort and clean the fruit," he said of the receiving centre it has replaced.
Ocean Spray, the world's largest cranberry processor, is a co-operative with annual revenues of $2.1 billion. Most B.C. cranberry farmers are members.
"This is a more efficient plant," said Mike Wallace, executive director of the B.C. Cranberry Growers Association.
"It can handle more berries; it is designed for future growth and it has the latest in food-handling equipment, with everything being stainless steel.
"It's keeping the industry current with food safety concerns and processing capability because it's got the latest equipment," Wallace said.
Cranberries are delivered to the plant by local farmers, who are now flooding their fields to harvest them. After cleaning and sorting, they are shipped to plants in the U.S. where they are frozen before being further processed into sauce, concentrate or sweetened and dried cranberries.
Growers generally receive about 60 cents a pound for their berries.
The 2012 crop is expected to be larger than those of recent years, which have been below average. It could approach 45 million kilograms this year, Wallace said.
"We are hoping for at least an average crop. The last half of the summer has been good for the crop because we got so much sun," he said.
Growth in the cranberry sector is slowing, Wallace explained, mainly because of land costs.
Forty per cent of the 80 B.C. farmers in the industry are located in Richmond, where boggy soils are ideal for cranberries and the Fraser River provides the growers with access to water for harvesting.
Most of the others are located in Delta or further up the river at Pitt Meadows and Chilliwack.
Wallace said about 1.5 per cent of the berries harvested here are picked in dry fields.
Those go to the local fresh cranberry market.
This year, the long, sunny fall saved what began as a late season. The sunshine over the past month has been a vital ingredient in what farmers like Aujla hope will be a high-quality crop
However, the late season coupled with an earlier-than-usual Thanksgiving meant that many of the local berries, while fully ripe, were not completely ready in time for turkey dinners.