You might think that after three years of drought, farmers would welcome every last rain drop. Not so, says Michael Marks, who markets agriculture for the produce distributor FreshPoint.
Marks: “For farmers, rain can be their best friend or worst enemy. And a lot has to do with when it comes and how much comes. And this certainly is not the time of year that you want rain.”
That’s because it can harm young, tender crops just starting to ripen. Take cherries, for example. As they turn red, rain often leads to cracking or splitting when the sun comes out. Stone fruits like peaches, nectarines and apricots are also at risk.
But so far, it looks like farmers have dodged a bullet because the wet, cool spring has pushed back the normal ripening of the crops. The California Farm Bureau Federation says crops haven’t seen any significant losses – just delays. The California Cherry Advisory Board says their harvests are running nearly two weeks behind schedule. That means consumers should expect lower volumes and higher prices into mid-June.