CHATHAM, Mich. (WZMQ) – As the blueberry festival gets closer and closer, farmers are saying this year’s fruit-growing season hasn’t been the most promising. “If you were starting berries this year it would’ve been a tough season to start berries,” said the Owner of Rock River Farms Rowan Bunce. Bunce said the dry and warm weather that the UP’s been experiencing can keep the berries from growing at a healthy rate, but that temperature isn’t the main factor.
“They’re actually pretty resilient when it comes to temperature and rain and things like that so the first half of our season no doubt, dry, hot but lately we’ve been getting rain every few days and it’s been hot and sunny in between so actually that’s the way to go,” continued Bunce.
As Rowin puts it a lot of berry plants take a lot of time to grow their healthy root system before they even start producing any fruit. It depends on the type of berry but usually, berry plants are perennials and grow back every year. The plant is slow to establish but once it does, it can last a long time. When it comes to blueberries in the UP, however, it takes a couple of extra steps. “Our particular soil type here for something like blueberries isn’t ideal we kind of need more acidic sandy soil. That’s why you see a lot of wild blueberry patches along lake superior and along old burns,” continued Bunce.
This set of Rasberry plants, Rock River Farms planted 7 years ago and now has a healthy base to start producing good quantities of berries. Rowin commented that the berries grown in the summer, carry them through the long winter. “With berries, you get to put up a bunch of jams and jelly and stuff like that so basically it’s like you’re preserving summer’s bounty,” mentioned Bunce.
If you’re at the local farmers’ markets, try some of those local berries, because chances are it was harvested just days before.
Click here, for more information on Rock River Farms.