During the heat spell of the past week, Oregon fruits and vegetables all reacted differently. Although some were sunburned, shriveled or softened up, others loved the heat. For the latter, the heat hastened their ripening process. Blueberries and cherries seemed to be the most negatively impacted. The fact the thermometer topped out at 100 degrees on Saturday and 104 on Monday extended the stressful period.
Steve Renquist, horticulture specialist at the Oregon State University Extension Service office in Roseburg: “No question, when the thermometer hits 100 degrees, if fruit is exposed very much in the trees, that fruit is pretty vulnerable to sunburn. Extreme heat for berry and cherry crops is troublesome. In June, even in early July, high 90s and low 100s is very unusual for us.”
Both blueberries and cherries were in the middle of their harvest seasons when the intense heat hit. There was added concern because early forecasts indicated another couple days of high 90s to 100 degree weather this weekend, but more recent forecasts have eased temperatures down to the low 90s over the next week.
“The cherries have definitely been hit hard,” Evan Kruse, co-owner of Kruse Farms in Garden Valley west of Roseburg told nrtoday.com. “The trees have a hard time keeping up with the transport of water to the fruit so the cherries will soften or begin to dry up. The heat will significantly shorten the harvest window.”