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Weather is about the only thing holding berries back

No matter the region or type of berry—strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, or blackberry—industry players are thrilled with high demand but face a few common challenges.

Some are shared with growers of other commodities, and a few are unique to the berry sector.

Weather, of course, is always a challenge.

Jack Cain, vice president of sales and marketing for Always Fresh Farms in Winter Haven, FL, keeps his eyes on forecasts in a variety of places, from Chile to California to Florida. The company is a year-round supplier of blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

“You can have the best genetics, but you’re always going to have weather—if it’s too hot or too cold, it can affect the plant positively or negatively,” said Cain, citing recent examples like hail in Chile, colder than normal temperatures in California, and extremely warm weather in Florida.

If weather is too warm, strawberries will grow more leaves than fruit, and if temperatures fall, there are a host of adverse impacts, including pollination.

“We’ve had pollination problems,” Cain said. “Bees are affected by cold weather, and there’s a declining population of bees.”

This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full version.