While areas north, south, east and west of Terra Firma got soaked on Friday night, the rain here was barely enough to get the ground wet. With lots of ripe strawberries to pick, we were initially happy about the short duration of the precipitation. But then it stayed cloudy and muggy all morning, with hardly any wind. Without sun and airflow to dry them, many of the ripest berries turned to mush by noon and we spent the afternoon cleaning them off the plants.
Sunday it got warm and at 7 am on Monday it was still 70 degrees. We raced out to the field to harvest strawberries, but had to stop before lunch when the temperature quickly jumped up to the high 80s.
By Tuesday morning, the strawberries picked on Monday were already turning soft in the cooler, and there were very few ripe ones to pick.
I’ve written many newsletters like this over the years. Losing strawberries to rain and/or hot weather is just part of growing the crop, especially in the Central Valley — it happens to us every year at least two or three times. The nice thing about the berries is that they produce continuously over a month or longer so the loss not necessarily catastrophic, but it’s still a bummer every time it happens.
On the plus side, the berry patch was taking a bit of a breather this weekend so we didn’t lose an enormous amount of fruit. Up until now we have had a pretty good strawberry season, and the plants are poised to keep producing into May with plenty of flowers and small green fruit hanging on them. But with temperatures consistently running 10 degrees or more above normal, it’s just a matter of time before we have our first real heatwave of 100 degrees or more. And that will be it for 2015.
If you pick up your Small or Medium box on Wednesday, be advised that there are no berries in it — we have “substituted” pistachios. We may have enough berries for the Thursday and Friday boxes, but I don’t know yet and so can’t say.
We apologize for any disappointment and thank you for your continuing support.