Warm nights speed up berry season

Warm nights speed up berry season

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by Bonnie Shelton

Bio | Email | Follow: @BonnieKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 9, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 9 at 9:23 AM

NAMPA -- Berry season is in full swing, but farmers in the Treasure Valley tell us the weather is impacting their crops.

That means people looking to pick the berries themselves will notice some differences.

We talked with one farmer who says warm summer nights are ripening the berries weeks before they usually do.

Toni North of Garden City headed to the Berry Ranch Thursday morning to pick some fresh raspberries.

"You're looking for that dark raspberry, famous raspberry color," said North.

Farmers tell us the berries turned dark weeks earlier than usual this year.

"This year in particular, the heat units at night have really moved the crop along and so we're a little bit on the early stages," said Fred Schreffler who owns the Berry Ranch in Nampa.

Schreffler added when the temperature doesn't drop below 70 degrees when the sun goes down, ripening speeds up. He said this summer, that's happened too often.

And it's not just raspberries ripening early.

"Then you want them to get a dull, dusky black," said Schreffler of his blackberry crop.

Many of the dark-colored berries are already sweet enough to pick, more than two weeks ahead of schedule.

Schreffler said that presents a challenge for his customers.

"They're thinking end of August and they're ready now," he said. That's why he's checking his crops thoroughly, making sure the berries continue to thrive. "Where they just come off the vine really easy is where you want to pick them."

If you'd like to pick your own berries, Schreffler says there is still a few weeks left to take advantage.

You can also pick your own Rocky Mountain blueberries at the Berry Ranch in Nampa.

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