Forbidden Fruit Blueberry Update
For the last nine years, except for 2012 and 2013, we have enjoyed Forbidden blueberries in March. This is one of those years that the fruit is slow to ripen and size up. “There was a big delay from Thanksgiving to January 1st where the temperatures were so cold that nothing happened for 6 to 7 weeks,” said Sandy Newman, owner of Forbidden Fruit Orchards. “We saw continuous temperatures of 50 degrees during the day and down to 36 at night. The plants just sat there and now we are 6 weeks behind. The rain didn’t help the situation but the clouds hanging on for 3 to 4 days in a row was the real problem.”
The farm is located on 8.5 acres about 15 miles from the ocean in Pinot Noir country in northern Santa Barbara County. The cold pacific air comes right to the property but the 50 foot tall pine trees planted around the fields are natural wind breaks, helping to keep the heat in the fields. Blueberries are weather dependent and they need the sun and heat for ripening. Yesterday was full of sunshine with a high of 69 but Sandy is hoping for an 80 degree heat wave. “We have a great set out there, just waiting to size up and get color, “said Sandy. She estimates that her blueberries will be ready for harvesting in mid-April. Let’s hope for lots of sunshine over the next couple of weeks!