The cold weather and rainfalls in the past few weeks have prevented many fruits from fully ripening. From the Creuse department to Occitania, harvests are delayed.
The blueberry harvest is already a week late in Saint-Marc-à-Loubaud. The weather has delayed the harvest calendar. “It is a season like no other,” explains Michelle Mas de Feix while inspecting her 4,500 blueberry plants. “We have thirteen blueberry varieties. For almost all of them, we see a fruit here and there that is starting to ripen. In order to ripen fully, the fruit needs at least two weeks. And when the conditions are humid and very cool, as they are now, it can take up to three weeks.”
Temperatures do not exceed 13°C. “The biggest inconvenience is the cool weather because the fruit cannot ripen anymore.”
In the Lot and Tarn-et-Garonne departments, the Quercy melon is also a victim of the weather. The cold of the past few weeks prevents it from ripening, causing a production delay of 3 weeks to 1 month on all farms.
Jean-Louis Andrieu, producer of PGI Quercy melons, estimates that he has lost nearly 50 tons. “On this field, we should have already harvested between the 20th and 25th of June, and right now, almost everything still remains to be harvested. In order to ripen, melons need high temperatures and sun. Otherwise, they do not ripen, there is no progress.” Despite a harvest that looks promising from July to September, “it is definitely a loss of income for us. We will not get it back because the production continues. If the weather is good, we will harvest the nicest fields but we cannot harvest 20 tons per day for later, it is not possible.”
It is still too early to put an exact figure on the decline in production, but the cold has impacted all 91 PGI farms.