HMC News – April 2024

Widespread hail hit many of our growing regions over the month. There was some damage from the storms, but we remain optimistic. Most of the hail appeared to be “slushy”. Slushy hail does not penetrate the skin of the fruit as deeply or as firm or icy hail, so the damage (if any) is less substantial. We are also hopeful because a percentage of the most vulnerable varieties were covered with hail netting, a practice we will rely on more in future seasons (see images for reference). With hail damage, the overall volume loss is not always significant, but the cost to thin and pack the product is more expensive. We are in the early stages of thinning and will have an opportunity to reassess the damage when we go into the fields. Hopefully we can remove a majority of the affected fruit before it has a chance to mature. Fortunately, the table grape vines had not matured enough to be affected by the hail. In general, the hail needs to be very severe to affect the fruited vine, and if there is damage a majority of it can be removed at the time of harvest.

The stone fruit crop continues to look promising. Early varieties are starting to size and show some color. We expect harvest to begin 7-10 days earlier than last year, which is closer to the start of the 2022 season. 2023 was one of the latest starts to the season in the last 20 years.

Posted in