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Why We Don’t (and you don’t) Pick in the Rain

Rainy days are great for a lot of things. Reading books, making soup, giving our irrigation system a rest, wearing rubber boots, etc. But it is not the weather to be picking produce, especially not berries. Why?

1. Produce Quality

Water is the source of all life. It is also one of the most destructive elements out there. When produce is exposed to rain while still attached, the living plant is usually able to combat any negative impacts (like molding) that a picked product could not.

Berries in particular have incredibly thin skin and a high respiratory rate, so berries picked in the rain will retain this moisture and start to rapidly mold. This is another reason we suggest you not wash your produce until you’re ready to use it.

2. Disease

Fungus, and rust spots, and blight, OH MY!

As humans, we like to share our germs by sneezing. Just because plants don’t sneeze, doesn’t mean they don’t like to share their ‘germs’. It’s just done differently.

When it rains, the ‘germs’ a plant may have, are captured in rain drops. If a picker were to go through while the plants are wet the ‘germy’ water from one plant is shared with neighboring plants as the picker shakes the leaves and moves from one plant to another. Essentially the picker’s hands act like a bee’s legs during pollination. But instead of awesome fruit and tasty honey, these pickers are potentially spreading diseases.

Yes, thanks to the wonders of modern science, fungicides can be sprayed to combat the spread of disease. We occasionally do resort to this, but we are proud to be a Low-Spray/No-Spray farm which means we are not on a weekly or monthly spray-schedule. Instead, we monitor our fields and only act when there’s a problem that nature can’t correct on its own. Part of our strategy for being a Low-Spray/No-Spray farm is to not conduct activities that would aid diseases such as picking in the rain.

3. It’s Not As Fun

As a farm offering Pick You Own berries, apples, and other goodies we enjoy watching families, friends, and groups make memories and discover nature on our farm. Have you ever eaten a berry warm from the sunshine and straight from the plant to your lips? That’s an experience you won’t get in the rain.

And although we’ve seen many groups laugh at how soggy they’ve gotten after being caught in the rain, people tend to have more fun enjoying our farm in the sunshine.

Want to Pick Your Own?

Our U-Pick is open during store hours. Price is per-pound. You can bring your own containers or use ours. If you bring your own containers we will weigh them beforehand so you don’t pay for your own containers.

Every season is slightly different, but we have a general outline of what to expect. Click the button below or give us a call (518) 477-6250.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Phyllis

    Do strawberries plump or lose moisture after a rain or is it just the plant? Here in Germany we have many self–pick fields. I understand plant pathogens and their conditions and also how to identify fruit at it’s peak. Since I’ll be making jam, I want fruit full of flavor, sugars, but not necessarily more turgid because of recent rain. Hoping that this has made sense. Thanks!

    1. Kristys Barn

      Hi Phyllis, yes, this does make sense and is true. Fruits do hold some excess water after rain and will distribute it back to the plant as water because less accessible. We usually wait a sunny day or two after a heavy rain to ensure the area is dry and the water/sugar ratio has time to return to normal.

      Our strawberries were in bloom last weekend and we can’t wait for the berries to come as I’m sure you and you jam taste testers are!

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