Blueberry harvest on track to set record
While many farmers are suffering from the hot, dry summer, at least one blueberry farm is expecting a record crop.
Earl Kidston of Blueberry Acres in Sheffield Mills says it's the best crop he's seen in 22 years of growing the berries.
"We're in uncharted territory here now with our yield," he said. "When other crops that we have and other farmers have are in a drought situation, these blueberry fields, the high-bush fields, are irrigated every week, so we're looking at a record crop."
The berries are ripening quickly; they are now being picked two weeks ahead of when they would normally be ready.
"I picked with my husband, and we picked 17 flats today," said Paula Wilson, one of 300 pickers working at Blueberry Acres. "We started, oh, around 11 o'clock or so, and now we're going home for the day."
Commercial picking started last week, but so far only one variety of berry is being picked. But with all varieties ripening quickly, Kidston will need more pickers.
"The other varieties will be coming on, so several will be ready at the same time. So, yeah, we'll need more pickers, quite a few more pickers," he said.
Kidston expects to harvest in the neighbourhood of 600,000 kg of berries, which would shatter last year's mark of 360,000 kg.