Scorching temperatures of 30°C plus are dampening the prospects for the blueberry harvest in British Columbia.
“It’s smoky in Delta here today,” reported Jack Bates, Tecarte Farms, referring to the wildfires. “We’re expecting a temperature of 29°C which will be a record for August 2. I can’t see the mountains, it’s so hazy.”
The blueberry crop is already predicted to be lower in volume due to some varieties succumbing to winterkill and a poor pollination in the spring. That said, there are many micro climates in the Fraser Valley, from Delta to Cloverdale, Surrey, Pitt Meadows and Hope. Harvest conditions vary by location.
The next week’s heat wave will be “hard on fruit and bushes,” says Bates, who is half-way through mechanically harvesting 90 acres of blueberries.
Mechanically harvested fruit is shipped to one of 28 packers in the valley, the same day of harvest for immediate refrigeration. The fruit will be frozen in drums or individually-quick-frozen into specific pack sizes according to customer needs. Two new plants were erected this year to handle blueberry harvest, one at Abbotsford and another at Chilliwack. Having access to cold storage reduces risk of fruit stranded in the field.
The U.S. remains the biggest export market with Asia in second place.
Weather Network forecast for Abbotsford, BC.