All things blueberry available at the Crossroads Blueberry Market
GRAND RAPIDS, (WZZM) - Everything that should be lush and green in west Michigan is parched. While we haven't set any records for drought conditions, lawns and crops are downright crispy!
Of course, some vegetation is doing better than others. I headed to a farm in West Olive in Ottawa county to check out the blueberry crop. Surprisingly enough, blueberries are ahead of schedule because of the warm March.
What's the cause for all the distress? It's actually not the heat; it's the lack of rain that's the problem.
Reenders said, "Lack of water, it hasn't rained significantly for seven weeks I think was the last time we had any measurable amount of rain."
Farmers are estimating a 20 percent drop in total crop yield this year but the most interesting fact is the difference in the actual fruit.
A blueberry that's received enough water all season long is going to be larger because of the juice it produces. You can tell when the berry is freshly picked. If you see a little dew right where the stem was, that's just right.
"If you don't have adequate water, then the berry will be smaller and you need that moisture all the way through the ripening; even when the blossoms are on, you need adequate moisture all the way through the whole process." said Reenders. "If you don't get that at any point, the the berry starts to mature without the water and it will obviously be smaller fruit."
In spite of the size difference, Reenders said you won't notice much of a difference in taste, just less juice.