Start of Fall Berry Season Saved by Thursday Rains

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

Joyce Rowe's raspberries were in trouble.

"They were really stalled out," said Rowe, who runs Rowe's Farm Market in Mason with her husband. "They were loaded but stalled."

August brought the Lansing area just .44 inches of rain the entire month. That's well under the average of 3.46 for August historically. Without water, the Rowes wouldn't be able to open their farm to berry pickers for labor day weekend.

"They were down in size and quantity," said Ron Rowe, Joyce's husband.

But all hope was not lost. .58 inches of rain on Thursday night allowed the fruit to flourish.

"Once we got rain they finally started popping," said Joyce Rowe.

"Now that we've got rain they should flourish pretty good," said Ron Rowe.

Fall berry season generally lasts a little more than a month in the Lansing area. It ends when the first frost comes, generally in early October.

But Patti Kroth wasn't worried about getting her raspberries this year.

"I figured that they'd come in time, it's just a matter of timing it right," said Kroth, who's been picking her own berries at the Rowes' farm for four years and loves the experience."It's fresher and it's something I enjoy doing with my children."

"We're happy to support local farmers and it helps that the raspberries are delicious," said Sherri McConnell, who was also picking her own raspberries on Sunday. "Part of it is the experience, part of it is buying from local farmers."

This weekend was also the first time for the public to pick raspberries at nearby Swallowtail Farm. The drought wasn't a problem for them because they use irrigation to keep their berries hydrated. They opened their farm to the public Sunday and got a larger crowd than expected.

"We've been impressed by the amound of interest we've seen," said David Haywood, who runs Swallowtail Farm with his wife, Anne. "We hope that that's a good sign."


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