Soil & Sea: reports from our producers

Sound Consumer | July 2012

A record Northwest cherry harvest was predicted, but farmers now say cool weather and rain in June may have split the skins of some cherries. Inclement weather also may have delayed ripening and compressed the cherry growing season, meaning there was less time to sell the fruit.

First-of-the-season Zee Fire nectarines and Spring Flame peaches are smaller in size than usual, but have excellent sugars.

Large crops of tree fruit are predicted due to good buds, a warm spring without major freezes, good pollination, and increasing production from newer plantings. But, many growers fear there won't be enough labor to pick the fruit, due to immigration policies.

The Alaska sockeye salmon fishery got off to a strong start in May as catches in the Copper River fishery were running triple the forecast of approximately 1.5 million fish. Copper River typically accounts for only about 3 percent of the total statewide sockeye harvest, but since it's the first sockeye fishery to open, it's something of a bellwether. The big catches overwhelmed the fresh market, causing prices to fishermen to nosedive from an opening of $4/pound to $1.50/pound. Other Alaska sockeye fisheries are expecting decent or good returns, but not the Fraser River in B.C.

West Coast albacore fishermen are hoping for another banner fishing season. Last year they caught 11,000 tons and averaged a record $1.78/pound for their fish, almost double the typical $1/pound. Fishing could be even better this summer due to a failed treaty that would have allowed Canadian boats to fish U.S. waters.

More about: cherries, local food, nectarines, salmon, tuna

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