Berry picking is in full swing in Manitoba – and it’s good picking thanks to plentiful rain, warm temperatures and low disease pressure.
This spring’s heavy rainfall has not adversely affected crops. In fact, it has reduced the need to irrigate, said Prairie Fruit Growers general secretary Waldo Thiessen who operates a strawberry farm near Altona.
Growers are keeping a close eye for mould and fruit rot that can occur in humid conditions but fungicides can keep rot at bay.
“We are actually pretty optimistic,” Thiessen said. “I’d say we’re pretty much on schedule for a normal year.”
Many strawberry U-picks opened for business during the last few days of June. Meanwhile, raspberries and saskatoons are coming ripe ahead of schedule.
A few sunny days will push berry growth and also helps sweeten them up, said Thiessen.
Sun also brings out customers. Too many rainy days during the U-pick weeks can definitely have an impact, said Anthony Mintenko, Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives fruit specialist.
Mintenko said he’s hearing generally favourable reports about crop conditions around the province. “Everyone seems pretty optimistic at this point,” he added.
“A lot of the growers are on well-drained soil,” he said. “They’re well adapted for weather conditions.”
The PFGA has updated its website this year and will have a person manning its hotline number every day from 7 a. m. to 11 a. m. Monday through Saturday.
The PFGA’s website is www.pfga.com.The hotline number to check
whose fields are ready to pick is 1-877-33BERRY (1-877-332-3779) or in Winnipeg 253-PICK
The fruit growers’ hotline is in operation beginning the last week of June to the first week of August. [email protected]