but the biggest problem is pollination each spring because the shape of the flower makes access difficult for bees and wind pollination simply doesn’t happen. The sugar content of the nectar is often also inadequate, so bees are not drawn to the flowers. Last year’s raspberries were adversely affected by rain. He said late raspberries in particular didn’t do well last year. Weather plays a significant role in fruit quality.
Raspberry plants can last for an average six years, but then fruit quality goes down, he noted, so re-planting is done.
They try to rotate strawberries, blackberries and raspberries to reduce the incidence of disease in their fields.
JUDIE STEEVES Henry Mutz operating one of numerous tractors at Berry Haven Farm.
Whole Foods. The major chains are pretty difficult to deal with, Mutz finds. Although delicate berries such as raspberries and blackberries are picked and packed in the field, blueberries can be sorted and packed by machine. Field packs are used in preference over clamshells.
None of their berries are machine picked, so at the peak of the season, there are 100 employees working on the farm, both picking and packing. Berry Haven makes use of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and accommodates more than a dozen Mexican workers each year.
In June, they may only have 60 or so working in the fields and plant, and it tails off at the other end of the season as well, but mid-summer, finding good labour is an important part of the operation.
For strawberries, they grow Albion, a day-neutral berry which they grow on a two-year cycle, planting in April for berries at the end of July through to frost.
The second year they get a small June crop of the plants, then they harvest from July through until fall, says Mutz.
Years ago, they mostly grew strawberries for processing, but fresh market is the focus now.
Winterkill is probably the biggest problem with strawberries, he noted, and there were some losses this past year, with colder weather. There’s also winterkill in the blackberries, he said.
In blueberries, on the other hand, the plants can last as long as 30 years,
British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2011 7
Mutz is also chairman of the Raspberry Industry Development Council.
We manage approximately 2500 hives. We own all the hives that we manage. We pollinate blueberries, raspberries and cranberries and also canola in southern Alberta.
Call for pricing. ask for Jean-Marc (778) 882-6254
Golden Ears 33197 Ito Place, Mission, B.C. V2V-3W7
Golden Ears Apiaries is a local business that’s been serving the Fraser Valley for 16 years.
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