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August/1st/2009

Noon International employees found themselves near the Canadian border in raspberry and bluberry fields on a sunny ninety degree day. As harvest is near completion there are few raspberries on the bush however blueberries were ripe, sweet, juicy and ready for harvest. Attached photos include the last of the raspberry fields being harvested, blueberry fields being watered, a close up picture of blueberries on the bush, and blueberries a few weeks away from harvest.

Blueberry

Our Northwest Crops: Frozen Vegetables

Peas: Harvest on the east side of Washington state completed on schedule July 20th, while on the west side harvest will continue through the first week of August. Due to an unseasonably cool and rainy spring on the east side of the Cascade Mountains crop yields have been lower than average. Western Washington pea growers are currently facing drought and are hoping for rain as their crops show the first signs of dehydration. Will western Washington pea growers be able to harvest through the first week of August? Only time and weather will decide… Even though crop yields have been lower than average the quality of the crop has been very high with a large volume of AAA peas. Due to the less than ideal spring weather the high grade peas that have been harvested will be available in limited volume.

Green Beans: After a slight delay due to cool temperatures green bean harvest began July 20 in the Willamette Valley under sunny skies in warm weather. An average yield is expected with a high percentage of green beans in the grade A category. Green Bean production is projected to continue until early October with harvest interrupted as less mature green bean fields are given time to mature and green bean harvest and production is staggered with the supersweet corn crop.

Corn: With planting now complete corn harvest is in full production this week in the Columbia Basin. The first corn crop which is currently being harvested is a supersweet variety and an average high quality yield is expected. A cooler than average and rainy spring has resulted in a healthy corn crop. The slightly mild weather has not negatively affected the supersweet corn crop and the weather in the Columbia Basin is warming quickly. Warm dry weather is ideal for the supersweet crop which is irrigated from the waters of the nearby Columbia River and is not very susceptible to drought.

Carrots: Harvest of baby whole carrots is now a little over two weeks into production. Yield is average and grade is good with a high percentage of these early carrots showing consistent size. Sliced carrots should start soon and yield is projected as average. Diced carrots will not begin production until late September or early October. Because carrots grow underground they are less susceptible to weather fluctuations than many other above ground crops and as such the rainy spring has had no negative effect on carrot varieties. Harvest of diced carrots is expected to start the middle of September or early October.

Potatoes: Due to the diminishing popularity of the Shepody potato among Washington State potato growers less acres of potatoes were planted the past year than in 2008, but this does not mean that potato yield will be down.

The quality of the Shepody potato is still very high, but the per plant potato yield of the Shepody when compared against other potato varieties is generally low. Perfect potato growing weather in Washington State, combined with growers favoring high yield potato varieties in place of Shepody, suggest this year’s per acre potato yield could potentially be higher than years in which Shepody was the favored variety. The harvesting season will last from July to October and processing started the week of July 20 with harvest of Shepody potatoes. Yield and quality are both expected to be high regardless of potato variety.

Blueberries: Oregon and Washington harvest has started. In Washington, many of the Duke variety berries are blue and almost ready for harvest. Quantity is expected to be very high this year with a large surplus of berries from last year affecting berry price in a manner beneficial to the customer. While so far the weather this season has been perfect, sunny and warm but not too hot, growers are always concerned that a late heavy rain could over hydrate the berries causing them to swell and split. So far too much water has not been a problem, but precipitation is always a concern in rainy western Washington.

Raspberries: With raspberry growers experiencing suddenly hot temperatures in late July and early August raspberry harvest could be at a major turning point from good temperatures to too hot. Luckily raspberry harvest was only expected to last until August 5, so weather and production are running on the same schedule and the raspberry harvest should be minimally affected, if at all. Harvest has shaped up well with average yield and average quality observed the past month and predicted for the end of harvest.

Mexican and Guatemalan Crops: Frozen Vegetables

Broccoli/Mexico: Not much is expected to change in Mexican broccoli harvest or production until early to mid September. Seasonal rain throughout August will halt most broccoli harvest due to crop rot. While certain regions in Mexico free from seasonal summer rain can continue small broccoli production the vast majority of production will not resume until early to mid September.

Cauliflower/Mexico: Cauliflower production slowed down but is not halted by seasonal rain. Yellowing due to wet weather has been observed but overall cauliflower crops are much less affected by rain and small quantity harvest still continues. Cauliflower from the state of Hidalgo has consistently proven resistant to the rain and is still currently being harvested.

Broccoli/Guatemala: Mid to late July has seen a break in the rains Guatemala generally experiences this time of year, increasing the quality of broccoli harvested and processed. Light rain is supposed to return in the early part of August but is not expected to have any negative effect on the crop. The quality of the broccoli currently being harvested is very good and Guatemalan broccoli growers are processing broccoli near capacity. Production is expected to increase slightly in August as Japan quality broccoli is harvested and processed.

Did you know…

I went to one of the most beautiful parks in Seattle the other day. It sits overlooking the beautiful Puget Sound. The sky was blue with no clouds and you could see the Olympic Mountains in the distance. The weather was warm but the slight breeze was cooling. Being in the middle of such beauty and comfort I could totally relax and enjoy this experience. All of a sudden I could see a container vessel passing over the Puget Sound and it jerked me back to reality! Well I wonder if she could be carrying some of our vegetables or fruits to Japan??

PSSeattle

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