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Heavy spring rains help blueberry crop

(WTVG)
Published: Jul. 26, 2019 at 4:50 PM EDT
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It's been a tough season for many farmers, with heavy rains making it impossible to plant crops earlier this spring and summer. But for plants already above ground, it's almost tough to keep up with the harvest.

One of the crops actually thriving after heavy rains this spring is blueberries. And if you head to Erie Orchards to pick blueberries, you'll see that they still have lots of them on their bushes.

Steve Elzinga at Erie Orchards says, "Oh, it's an amazing crop for us. Oh yeah!"

The Orchard features thousands of bushes, so you don't have to look hard to find berries ripe for the picking. "You can almost stand at one bush and pick a quart or two," he adds.

The heavy spring rains decimated the corn and soybean crops this year. But blueberries actually need the wet weather.

"One thing about blueberries is that they're shallow-rooted. So during a dry summer, they can actually dry up,” Elzinga explains. “So moisture is good! And we've had a lot of that, as you know. But for the blueberry bush, it's been good. And this area is well-drained, so it doesn't puddle here."

The Weber family came out for a couple of pounds of blueberries Thursday, and Olivia and Gabriella say they filled their containers so fast, it was tough to keep count!

"Sixteen?” Olivia estimated. "We have way more than 16,” said Gabriella. "Thousand? 100? 82?" "I don't know!"

Ashley Brown brought her kids, too. She has family friends who are farmers that struggled with the rainy spring. She said she's glad to see the blueberry crop thriving.

"I was surprised how many of the blueberries were ripe and ready for picking!"

But Elzinga says that, while the berries are doing great, they ripened a week behind schedule this year thanks to a cool spring.

He explains that the berries usually begin to ripen at the end of June. But not this year. "We opened on the first of July. We had nothing to pick! That was the first 10 days or so, then the blueberries started to turn."

Steve Elzinga says that blueberries aren't the only crops doing well right now. This year's rain also contributed to booming peach, apple and pumpkin crops.

Check out why Steve Elzinga says they have the netting in place over the acres of blueberry bushes:

Checking out the blueberry crop at Erie Orchards and Cider Mills

Posted by 13abc on Friday, July 26, 2019