When Sandy MacKay looks out at the fields which every day get a bit bluer, he can’t help but feel a bit optimistic.
“We’re liking this rain we’re getting today,” he said Monday. “It’ll fatten them up a little bit. I’d say it’s a better crop than we’ve had the last number of years.”
Blueberry farms will begin harvesting later this week or early next week.
So far, MacKay said things are lining up for a good year. To start things off right, they had good pollination.
Where as in the past, MacKay said he’s gotten bees to pollinate from the Valley, in recent years he has been able to rent them locally. The advantage to having them come from a local beekeeper is that they are already acclimatized to the area. Bees from warmer areas take a day or two to adjust.
“I can’t put enough importance on bees,” he said.
Bees are responsible for as much as a quarter of the food we eat.
He said there’s also been changes in the management of fields that he and other area blueberry growers believe will make a difference.
“We’re trying some new management stuff. We’re doing different management projects. It’s costing us quite a bit of money, but we’re hoping it pays off for us.”
An example is a fungicide that they believe will make a difference.
In Maine, there wasn’t a bumper crop this year. While that may be bad for the growers there, it can be good for Nova Scotia’s growers because it means that prices will be hire.
He explained that the Maine growers produce far more than those in Nova Scotia and have an easier time in many ways growing the berries. As a major producer they can affect price, where as in Nova Scotia, the farmers don’t necessarily impact the market as much.
All of MacKay’s berries are harvested by machine.
“You can’t get people There’s nobody that would do it and there’s no kids around.” He said.