Last year the trees in Norway were covered with plums, but this year the situation is very different. A warm and sunny April was followed by erratic weather in May with snow and frost.
Grower Steinar Dvergsdal of cultivation company Innvik Fruktlager: "It went completely sideways in May during the blooming period, last year we had a record number of plums, but this year the harvest fell by 80 percent."
The plum harvest is also poor this year in Hardanger, one of the largest fruit regions in Norway. Leif Øie of the fruit and vegetable cooperative Grøntprodusentenes Samarbeidsråd (GPS) has also noticed this. He has been inspecting fruit crops for ten years to make forecasts, but has never seen a season as bad as this: “The first Norwegian plums will be in the shops this week or next, but in the first week of September it will be all over." Last year the harvest from all over Norway amounted to about 1,900 tonnes, this year the total is probably only around 600 to 700 tonnes.
Are tunnels the solution?
Some growers are testing plum cultivation in tunnels, but that is a major investment. Grower Stein Harald Hjeltnes from Njøs frukt- og bærsenter: “Tunnel cultivation is very expensive. Plums are simply more sensitive to the weather than other types of fruit, there is little that can be done about it. This bad year is an exception and I don't think that's a reason to make such a large investment. Plus: after a year with few plums, flowering is usually optimal the following year, so it is possible that we will get an abundance of plums next year. ”