Valley farmers worried helpful weather may hurt raisin prices

September 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Valley raisin growers say the weather this year has played a big part in turning out a great crop. One Valley farmer even said his vines gave him about 20 percent more crop than last year.

For the last three years Valley farmers did not see the results they wanted in their grape crops. But farmers say this year grape vines pumped out some great fruit.

"They got a better crop, hopefully they will get a good price for the raisins and they'll make some money," raisin grower Mike Jerkovich said.

Jerovich is a proud third generation farmer. On average his land produces about a thousand trays of raisins per acre. "If you have below that then it's not that good and you're not making any money," Jerovich said.

The cooler temperatures during the past winter nurtured Valley farms. "If we have a nice cold winter the vines will go to sleep and usually if they're rested more usually they will have a better crop the following year," Jerovich said.

Some Valley farmers are worried that prices on their harvest may go down since vineyards are making more fruit. Greg Markarian with the Raisin Bargaining Association negotiates those prices with packers. Markarian and some other local growers are considering changing up their crop to make more money.

"We are considering pulling out some of our acreage and a lot of other farmers are too. And it's really a shame we built the vineyard up and I think it's at the top of our game giving the highest yield," Markarian said.

Growers are still in negotiations with packing houses. Those negotiations can last for several more weeks until both sides can agree.


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