Monday, August 20, 2018: Picking conditions are now slow to fair. The challenge is the variations of ripeness conditions throughout the patch. The heat and dry conditions are probably contributing to the seemingly short time that berry quality is ideal after turning ripe. This condition dictates searching and testing.
There are berries to pick. A couple hours can result in a full bucket. The conditions are probably not worth the travel if you come from afar, unless you are just seeking a peaceful outdoor activity.
It is at this point in the picking season where we remind annual visitors that we have later-ripening varieties that are still a pale green. These are the rows in the middle patch on the north side of the solar panels. There a few rows that hold decent-numbers of unripe berries. The most northern rows are devoid of berries. So the late-season picking will likely be shorter and certainly less productive than past years. We really have no reasonable estimate of when the later varieties will ripen. The best strategy is to keep an eye on our Facebook page and await an announcement when we notice they are ready. Sorry, but it is not practical to have a contact list when they are ready. Please just follow this (or, better, the Facebook) page and await the post.
Like last year, we are very pleased with the public's consideration of the farm grounds. We appreciate everyone's consideration in terms of parking in designated areas and driving slow, putting trash in the proper places, looking but not touching the livestock, and figuring out the weighing/paying system. Everyone's efforts at picking in an independent manner allows us to avoid having to hire help and avoid price adjustments.
The one practice that could use some improvement is rinsing the farm buckets after one borrows them. There is a sink with running water next to the bucket shelves, so please feel free to use it to clean your bucket for the next person. Thanks.
Early Morning, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018: We have entered the "recreational picking" phase of the season. The picking is slower but ripe berries still abundant. Takes more searching and careful picking around the overripe berries. There are different varieties that make up our fields, but there are no records of what is where, so you have to just walk around and figure out what you like. We will continue this way until picked out or tuckered out, whichever comes first.
Early Morning, Monday, Aug. 13, 2018: You can expect to be able to pick at least 3 lbs per hour per person and there are quality berries out there, but you have to look around and find bushes where the berries have recently ripened. We will remain open at least another week or two. I will provide another update on Thursday evening (late) in advance of the weekend, unless there is a dramatic change.
Saturday evening, Aug. 11, 2018: We had a 900# day on Friday (yesterday), over 500#s today. Total thus far is 4900#s (avg 600 lbs/day). Although we have exceeded the crop estimate of 4600#s, there is still some fiar to good picking in the back and the southern rows of the middle patch. We are remaining open for the duration. No way of telling how the picking will be on any given day--too many unknown variables. You can expect to be able to fill a gallon bucket in 1-2 hrs any day, probably at least for the next week. With the humidity, it has been a little buggy in the morning. They leave when it becomes brutal hot in the afternoon. Evenings have been nice, with bugs appearing only when the sun goes down.
Thursday evening, Aug. 9, 2018: First time out in the patch in a couple of days. Definitely noticing the impact of picking now. Still berries to pick. Still berries to get ripe. There are overripe berries among ripe and unripe, so you need to hunt and pick, hunt and pick. Another assessment of the conditions is reviewing the berry ledger. I saw about 30 entries today, mostly in the 6-10 lb range, which is pretty good, as most people are out just a couple of hours. There were some folks who reported 40ish pounds and had to IOU the shortfall after shaking their wallet empty into the moneybox. We love pickers who are not constrained by the money they have on hand. We are going to remain open until we are picked out. The late varieties have the least on them, so we might be done this year by Labor Day--not sure. I will update the conditions on Saturday night.
Sunday, August 5, 2018: Hot and humid. Picking was like the first day (yesterday) and those who didn't dilly dally could pick as much as 10 lbs per hour. We'll remain open, as the numbers of work-week pickers is traditionally fewer and there are still berries to get ripe. Will update this report on Thursday in advance of the weekend.
Saturday, August 4, 2018: Rained all morning and all evening. Pickers that braved the rain did well, picking as much as 10 lbs per person per hour. All told, less than 700 lbs were harvested and so there remains great picking conditions throughout. About half the crop is ripe, so we will have good picking for at least a couple of weeks.
Thursday, August 2, 2018: Our annual pre-season crop assessment was performed yesterday as part of our crop-insurance policy. The assessed crop yield by this method is usually--but not always--higher than our actual harvest. Nevertheless, it provides a ballpark of the crop outlook. The assessment estimates a crop of 4600 lbs, which is less than half of the average annual assessment (11,700 lbs--data back to 2009) and half of our average actual harvest (8400 lbs--data back to 2005).
The crop variability is primarily affected by conditions at blossom and effectiveness of pollination (combination of pollinator populations and conditions that affect their activities).
Tuesday, 7/31, 2018: Currently about 50% of the crop is ripe. This year's crop is not as abundant as recent years. Pickers will be hard pressed to harvest eye-popping quantities (20+ pounds/person). The first-day's picking conditions will be pretty good. After that, it is anybody's guess. Will update this after our crop-insurance agent does his assessment and then on Saturday night and Sunday night.
PREVIOUS YEARS' UPDATES:
CLOSED FOR THE SEASON — Oct 9, 2017 11:18:20 AM
LAST WEEK OF 2017 PICKING SEASON: October 2-8. — Oct 2, 2017 12:08:44 PM
Hot & Humid, picking and pickers are slow — Sep 24, 2017 10:05:47 AM
Approaching the last hoorah but without much fanfare. — Sep 16, 2017 8:14:07 PM
End of picking is near — Sep 11, 2017 10:06:42 AM
Post-Labor-Day Post — Sep 5, 2017 10:52:43 AM
Three weeks in the books — Aug 30, 2017 1:34:38 AM
Conditions after 2 weeks of picking: fair to good — Aug 26, 2017 11:39:31 AM
Coasting for awhile — Aug 21, 2017 12:01:04 AM
Picking is still very good. — Aug 19, 2017 10:12:00 PM
Still good picking to be had — Aug 18, 2017 11:56:56 PM
Temporary slow down, picking is catching up... — Aug 17, 2017 2:10:02 AM
Picking still good. — Aug 16, 2017 11:02:18 AM
Still below average picking pressure — Aug 14, 2017 1:07:29 AM
3 Days into 2017 Picking Season — Aug 13, 2017 12:16:27 PM
1st Day of 2017 Picking Season — Aug 11, 2017 12:51:17 AM
2017 Outlook — Aug 7, 2017 8:00:21 PM
PICKED OUT FOR 2016: Now Closed — Sep 26, 2016 10:41:02 AM
CLOSING AT DUSK ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th — Sep 20, 2016 12:06:49 AM
On the upswing for the last hoorah — Sep 11, 2016 4:16:31 PM
Picking is slow — Aug 30, 2016 10:20:42 PM
Entering the "Recreational Picking Phase" — Aug 26, 2016 10:49:36 AM
No perceptible change in conditions — Aug 25, 2016 11:35:37 AM
Plenty of ripe berries to pick but need to work around the overripe. — Aug 22, 2016 2:51:57 AM
Rains have ceased, decent picking resumes. — Aug 21, 2016 4:44:23 PM
Weekend Weather — Aug 19, 2016 11:37:49 AM
Picking Rates Slowed by Over Ripe Berries — Aug 18, 2016 11:16:15 AM
Ripening Faster than Harvesting it seems — Aug 16, 2016 8:27:05 AM
Still Fair to Good Picking in Spots — Aug 15, 2016 1:54:57 AM
Awesome Opener, Still Lots of Ripe Berries on the Bushes — Aug 14, 2016 2:35:06 AM
Outlook on the eve of the opener — Aug 12, 2016 11:31:59 AM
Saturday, August 13th, will be the 2016 Picking Season Opener — Aug 7, 2016 11:45:09 AM
Definitely will NOT open earlier than the 13th — Aug 4, 2016 3:56:56 AM
Still on pace for August 13th — Aug 1, 2016 11:12:28 AM
Anticipated Opener for 2016 — Jul 27, 2016 11:17:47 AM