Soil & Sea: reports from our producers

This article was originally published in July 2012

A record Northwest cherry harvest was predicted, but farmers now say cool weather and rain in June may have split the skins of some cherries. Inclement weather also may have delayed ripening and compressed the cherry growing season, meaning there was less time to sell the fruit.

First-of-the-season Zee Fire nectarines and Spring Flame peaches are smaller in size than usual, but have excellent sugars.

Large crops of tree fruit are predicted due to good buds, a warm spring without major freezes, good pollination, and increasing production from newer plantings. But, many growers fear there won’t be enough labor to pick the fruit, due to immigration policies.

The Alaska sockeye salmon fishery got off to a strong start in May as catches in the Copper River fishery were running triple the forecast of approximately 1.5 million fish. Copper River typically accounts for only about 3 percent of the total statewide sockeye harvest, but since it’s the first sockeye fishery to open, it’s something of a bellwether. The big catches overwhelmed the fresh market, causing prices to fishermen to nosedive from an opening of $4/pound to $1.50/pound. Other Alaska sockeye fisheries are expecting decent or good returns, but not the Fraser River in B.C.

West Coast albacore fishermen are hoping for another banner fishing season. Last year they caught 11,000 tons and averaged a record $1.78/pound for their fish, almost double the typical $1/pound. Fishing could be even better this summer due to a failed treaty that would have allowed Canadian boats to fish U.S. waters.

Also in this issue

Favorite ice creams

So many flavors, so little time — the ice cream aisle at PCC is overwhelming, we know. It's an eternal debate: should you choose cool, pure vanilla or classic chocolate? Or, is it time to go for something outrageous?

Ranking U.S. grocers on seafood sustainability

2012 is forecast by many to be a year of great change and, from an ocean conservationist's perspective, this comes not a moment too soon. Even now, in spite of overwhelming evidence and strong warnings from the scientific community, we continue to plunder our seas at an astonishing rate.

Water out of fish: are we overfishing our oceans?

The histrionic debate over whether fish stocks are healthy or on the verge of collapse has consumers lost at sea. The two most prominent scientists in the controversy stand on opposite shores.