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NW Washington raspberry harvest down 30% due to heat wave

The late June record-breaking heat wave in the Pacific Northwest resulted in a significantly smaller raspberry harvest in northwest Washington. The Bellingham Herald reports the 2021 harvest numbers show Whatcom County farmers brought in almost 44.5 million pounds, according to the Washington Red Raspberry Commission. That’s down 30.2% compared to the 2020 harvest and down 40% compared to the peak year in 2018. The second-lowest total this century was 45.9 million pounds in 2004. The extreme heat turned many berries to mush just as harvest typically begins.

2021 Fall Home Show canceled amidst COVID-19 resurgence

PASCO, Wash. — The 2021 Fall Home Show, an annual event put on by the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities (HBA), has been canceled this year due to rising COVID-19 transmission rates across the community. According to an announcement from…

Research shows Seattle residents are moving to the Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. — A recent national study of population growth in major cities shows that the Richland-Kennewick metro area representing the Tri-Cities has experienced a substantial increase in residents; largely stemming from Seattle. Researchers from the Inspection Support Network used…

Smoke, ash, heat and drought hurting Washington agriculture

It’s been a tough summer for agriculture across Washington state. Crops like berries have struggled under record heat and drought. Now, some worry about how smoke in August could stunt the growth of some crops should the haze intensify and linger. Jennifer Schuh has worked with her father Steve Schuh for decades in the Skagit Valley, growing everything from corn to berries, squash, cucumbers and pumpkins. She said a long stretch of thick smoke could hurt their crops. Steve Schuh says ash can block a plant access to light and food. Some winemakers say smoke has not impacted their wine grapes yet, but it could get bad in August.

Extreme heat takes out portion of Northwest cherry crop

An extreme heat wave damaged cherries grown in Washington's Yakima Valley and the Northwest in late June and early July. The high temperature reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit in Yakima on June 29, an all-time record. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the heat caused issues such as sunburn and stunted growth that made the cherries unsuitable for the fresh cherry market. Many cherries were left on trees while others were picked but processed. Northwest Cherry Growers is still assessing the damage, but President B.J. Thurlby estimates that about 20% of the overall crop was lost due to heat conditions. Much of the loss came in the Yakima Valley, where cherries were about to be picked.