CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Local farmers and orchardists are taking steps to protect their crops against more extreme heat in the Rogue Valley. Production on some crops have been slowed down, while others are ripening quickly.
At Valley View Orchard, their apricots and peaches love the heat.
“It gets to the point where it’s ripe and it’s time to pick and the heat maybe helps it get there quicker,” Kathy O’Leary with Valley View Orchard explained.
Orchardists say the one major effect that the heat has on fruit like apricots is that it shortens the time it stays on the tree, and that means busy days for the orchard’s you-pick business. The owner expects peaches to ripen within a couple weeks, and all its apricots to be picked by the end of the week,
“Once it’s ready, it’s a short window to harvest the crop,” O’Leary said.
But it’s not all sunshine for some crops.
“The plant just wants to try to survive whenever it gets above 95 or especially when it gets to 100 degrees,” Jerry Mefford from Seven Oaks Farm said. “Any kind of vegetables just kind of do that.”
At Seven Oaks Farm, temperatures have quickly heated up, and production has slowed down.
They say some vegetables go into survival mode when it gets too hot.
“We’ve seen that with our corn, we’re just kind of waiting for our sweet corn to be ready and it’s taking a little bit longer than what we thought it would take,” Mefford said. “It just tries to survive.”
Owners say until things cool off a little bit across the Rogue Valley, they have to make sure the crops receive plenty of water.
“You want to keep everything well irrigated, keep some moisture in the ground, you don’t want to start stressing out.” Mefford also added.
Because if it can’t stand the heat, it won’t end up in the kitchen.
Seven Oaks Farm expects its corn to pick up within the next few weeks, and the farm will reopen to the public on Monday.