Lakeview Farms

January 5, 2015 Newsletter

This January newsletter is just to keep you up-to-date with what is going on at Lakeview Farms.   The serious work of planning for next year,   tax reporting, updating postal and email address, ordering supplies/plants/seeds, plus ensuring that our web site remains secure and up-to-date seems to take up most of the cold, wintery days of December, January, and February.  The computer work just completed in December 2014 focused on moving our web site to different hosting company that uses the latest version of Windows Server.  This migration was difficult but unfortunately, had to be done!

Strawberries--The crop looks great for 2015 but ...

The supply of strawberries for 2015 at the start of the 2015 season looks excellent.  Since rainy weather again during the peak strawberry harvest period in 2014 caused considerable loss of berries and less than satisfactorily picking conditions,  I am hopeful that we will not have a third year-in-a-row of rainy harvest weather.

For the 2015 harvest we will be harvesting about 95% Cabot and 5% of a new variety, Flavorfest, which is reported to be an exceptionally good tasting new strawberry variety.  In 2015 we will continue to pick in just our lower level fields but new plantings will be rotated back to the upper level.    We'll still  plant mostly Cabot in 2015 but also try 1/3 acre of a new Strawberry variety called Mayflower  This new variety from the UK seemed to hold up quite well in the rainy weather most Eastern Midwest strawberry growers experienced during 2014.

Raspberry crop prospects for June 2015 look good

For 2014 the -11F lows for Sunday, Jan 6, 2014 and Monday Jan 7, 2014 caused  injury to some raspberry canes as expected.  Sky radiation effects (Low winds, clear skies, and snow on the ground) probably made the real cane temperature even a few degrees cooler!  The varieties most impacted in 2014 by the cold January temperatures were: Honey Queen (100% loss), Reveille (50% loss), Jewel Black Raspberries (30% loss) and Prelude (30% loss).  Nova and Fall Gold were hardy enough to fruit a normal crop with no obvious winter damage evident.

So far, the winter weather of 2015 has been more favorable (assuming temperatures don't dip below zero during the cold snap forecast for the middle of this week).  Approximately 40% of our Prelude acreage (infected with Crown Gall) was replanted in early 2014 and should be at normal production levels for the June  2015 harvest.   I am starting to conclude that the tendency of Prelude to produce so prolifically in the late season (August-October) is not a desirable trait since this is the time of year when problems like sunburn, Spotted Wind Drosophila, spider mites, leaf spot ... are most troublesome. 

New Hires in 2014

Response to my email of July 2014 was overwhelming which made the process more difficult than usual and we were not able to offer employment to some very well qualified applicants.  Pictures of the new hires for 2014 can be found on our website at http://www.lakeview-farms.com/Staff.htm.