As it turned out it was only the first wave of frosts, in the middle of May another two nights came with a temperature of -6, - 8 degrees, during the beginning of flowering blueberries.
Fortunately, the plants were well nourished and the losses were not too big. In addition, we have increased the number of pollinators, mainly bumblebees because these are good at low temperatures. In normal years the number of Bombus terrestris families was 9-12 / ha, in this difficult season we put 15 families per hectare. As it turned out it was a good solution, because despite the losses in the frost, the yields were quite good.
However, this was only the beginning of problems with the weather. In the beginning of the season, i.e. in July, another cooling and rains came, it caused a delay in the maturation of blueberries, as well as a lot of pressure from birds that wanted to collect fruit for us. However, we have a large part of the plantation covered with nets, so protection was much easier.
The second half of July and the beginning of August were quite good, but not for long. In August, we had two 4-5 days of rain in the high season. The employees had less efficiency, we had to compensate them with higher rates. In addition, the supervision of the harvest had to be done personally by us. This was what Joanna did, who can do it so effectively that the fruits that came down from the plantations, despite the harsh conditions, were well severed. Blueberries, of course, still required insightful sorting after cooling. Paweł dealt with it, 2 months for 10 hours a day at a temperature of 8 to 2 degrees, supervised and personally prepared, pre-sorted fruit for shipments. In the 2017 season, we sold 90% of production in 4kg packages to the British market through a Polish exporter.
In addition to the weather, the season was also nervous, at the end of August and September, most companies selling blueberries to Western Europe stopped buying due to poor quality. During this period, we had the most fruit to sell. Despite the difficult conditions, we were able to send blueberries to U.K. until September 14. In addition, the reports on further sorting and packaging were really good, all in green. We did not have any complaints, customers were satisfied with our goods. This motivates us to continue our work and personal 100% commitment when harvesting and sorting blueberries.
This result is also due to our selected employees who gave a lot of themselves in this difficult season. Our policy has also worked, where we offer slightly higher rates than other growers, but thanks to this we have the opportunity to better select employees.
Winter is a period in which we can afford to relax before the next season. In March, we start cutting, then work on the yield and its quality. We hope that in the 2018 season the quality will also be very good and all our clients will be satisfied with cooperation with us.