Broad Valley Orchard

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The Rains Abate – The Berry Harvest Booms

Hello Berry Fans,
Wow! I have not seen a berry harvest like this since the mid-1980s. We received 26 inches (0.7M) of rain in the last 70 days, and the weather has mostly remained cool. However during most days we get a burst of warmth and sunshine and the berries, and ribes, go bonkers. We have been picking berries up to 12 hours per day!
And for any of you young natural farmers looking for a way to boost your farm income (not to mention being able to work erect, not stooped over in a vegetable patch) I really recommend putting in as many types and varieties of berries that you can afford.
The price of small fruit is really up! It really helped that the government permitted us to start advertising that the anti-oxidants in berries can help reduce the risk of disease. Not only that, but the small fruits are delicious. Just ask the birds!
Not only are we selling all that we can pick, but Judy is canning jams, and freezing berries. I have made a batch of black currant wine, and am going to try a test batch of “Black Raspberry Cider”, summer brewed using ale yeast. I use this beer yeast in my hard apple cider, and am pleased with the result.
Also, growing small fruits will educate you about the quirks of fruit growing; and will give you the confidance to invest in some of the new varieties of dwarf resistant apples. Some people (including the conventional apple growers) think I must have been crazy to try to grow fruit without chemical sprays. Now, 25 years later I am pleased to see them slowly converting to organic production. One local farm family is even starting another CSA. Wonderful = we in the Local foods movement need all the help we can get, to feed this nation and world in crisis.
And, even if you are not a farmer, you will be amazed to see how much food you can grow in your own yard. So tear up your lawn (mowing grass is so futile), and start planting. Rather than putting in landscape plants, put in organic-friendly fruit bushes, canes, and dwarf trees. Today is a good day to start!
Thom Marti

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