As a leader in the production of red fruits in France, the department of Haute-Loire has suffered from this year’s weather hazards. From the frost in the spring to the cold and rainy summer, the strawberry and raspberry harvests are down by 10 to 15%.
The season started nearly a month ago for Emeric Duclaux, organic producer of red fruits in Pertuis. A difficult harvest this year with buds damaged by the April frost and variations in temperatures. “Our production is more spread out. We will draw a report at the end, but I think we will have less fruit in total.” The fruit may have a lower sugar content, but the quality has not been impacted.
The decline in production varies depending on the farms but in general, it is down by 10 to 15%. For some producers, the decrease can reach 50%. “Contrary to some colleagues in the Rhône Valley who have lost everything, we do have some fruit. For stone fruit like the apricots or the peaches, the concern is high,” explains Denis Chirouze, director of GIE.
The demand for red fruit is also lower because of the weather. “When there is no sun, there is no consumption of strawberries, raspberries or other small fruit. It is a festive product which attracts consumers, but consumers have to want to buy and enjoy it. And when the sun is absent, so is the desire to consume red fruit.” But things could still change. “Better weather is announced for this week. Sales are usually good around the 15th of August, which gives us some hope.”