Weather delays fruit crop

Weather delays fruit crop

STATEWIDE Unseasonably cold weather in early June has pushed back harvest for much of Oregon’s valuable fruit crop. The delay means local fruit will be in markets later than anticipated.

For Hood River and Wasco County cherries, the usual harvest time of mid-June was already postponed a week by a series of cold spells in late April and early May. Jeff Heater of Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers was hoping a few weeks ago that harvest would begin before July.

Jean Godfrey, executive director of the group, says the region’s pears are running behind, too.

Oregon’s blueberries, normally harvested around mid-June, are expected to be picked starting around July 4, says Bryan Ostlund, administrator of the state’s Blueberry Commission. He expects an “average” crop this year.  Strawberries are also being picked late, with the industry planning a late June harvest.

Raspberries and blackberries, usually harvested in the first week of June, were pushed back to late June, says Don Sturms of the state’s Raspberry and Blackberry Commission. A grower as well, he says cold weather has decimated 30% of his blackberries. “The bees are not pollinating in this cold weather,” he says.

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