WASHINGTON COUNTY, OR (KPTV) – Call it the return of the “normal July” – the recent cooler weather is average for our region – we just haven’t seen it for a couple summers.

Area berry farmers are welcoming back milder conditions with open arms as they anticipate extended picking seasons.

“It’s definitely better this year than last because of the temperatures and the way the weather is falling,” said Smith Berry Barn owner Rich Hildner. “If you take a three-week season, and then put the heat really high and amp it up, then it takes that season to 10 days – it makes a big difference.”

Last year’s scorching summer drastically shortened picking season, as the berries ripened quickly but couldn’t handle the heat and started to mush.

“It will ripen so much overnight that people can’t pick the amount of fruit that’s there, so it drops,” Hildner explained.

A recent uptick in rain showers also means Hildner has cut back on watering crops.

“I’ve not irrigated this field in 10 days, two weeks – and last year I was doing it once a week for sure,” Hildner said, pointing to blackberry rows.

Hildner expects to be busy over the next several days as pickers come to collect blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. The weather is expected to be pleasant too: forecasters call for dry conditions with lower 80s and high 70s for the next several days.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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