TALENT Ore. – Last week’s heatwave took the Pacific Northwest by storm. In the Rogue Valley heat is just one of the problems facing local orchards and vineyards.
Ron Meyer’s family has grown pears in the Rogue Valley for over 100 years. He’s used to the climate being unpredictable.
“You don’t know whether you’ll have fruit or not it’s a gamble,” said Ron Meyer of Ron Meyer’s Orchards.
During last week’s heatwave, he made sure to put a sunblock-like substance on his fruit. It saved his pears, but not everyone has that option.
Peter Adesman of Peter William Vineyard said the protectant substance used on pears can’t be used on produce like grapes and blueberries. Protecting the grapes takes other measures.
“The grapes are on the lower fruiting wire everything else is the canopy. So canopy control may be the major way of protecting the grapes,” said Peter Adesman.
But both Meyer and Adesman have a bigger problem than the heat, water. With the current drought, irrigation plants are using water sparingly.
“Giving the pears sunblock is one step, but if they have enough moisture to get large then you really have nothing,” said Meyer.
Many longtime vineyards can thrive off dryer summers, but Adesman’s vineyard is only 7 years old.
“For the most part, we’ll be dry farming, which is not a bad thing for most communities,” said Adesman, “I’m not sure what’s gonna happen going forward. Are we gonna have a situation like this every year”?
The two men just hoping temperatures return to average and mother nature brings a little rain. They said it’s too early to tell how harvest season will play out. They’re more concerned about the lack of water than the heat.