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Your Farmer’s voice: Monte de Carlos

Dear CrowdFarmer, 

It seems that every year we face a new challenge with the apricot harvest. This season everything looked great and in the end it ended up being a disaster. 

With the transition to organic cultivation, the crop was adjusted to its natural yields and we expected to have between 60,000 and 75,000 kilos this year. 

Hail-damaged apricot fruit

In the winter months it was not cold enough and the tree did not develop the necessary blossoms to promise a good harvest. During the month of March and part of April we had several episodes of continuous heavy rain that coincided with the setting of the fruits. Both the rain and the presence of fungi caused by the humidity greatly reduced the production. Once the rain passed and we were able to assess the damage, we estimated that we had about 50,000 kilos left on the trees. 

To end our year, two weeks before we started harvesting we had a very strong hailstorm in the whole area where Monte de Carlos is located. My house is two kilometers from the farm and when that night I heard the hail hitting the roof I feared the worst. I didn’t want to get up to confirm that it was hail. It was not necessary. It took me several days to dare to go up and see the apricots. I simply did not have the strength to see it, I did not want to see all the work of a year lying on the ground. 

Hail-damaged apricot harvest

Farming is a very demanding job that sometimes brings you great joy and other times makes you cry like a child. 

After three days I summoned up enough courage to go up and assess the damage caused by the hail. What fell that night were big ice balls that directly threw a lot of fruit on the ground. At first we thought that it had mainly affected the outer parts of the trees and so we started the campaign thinking that with the 30,000kg that were left over we could comply with your orders.

This year we had everything better prepared so that your fruit would arrive in the best possible condition: very quick and early morning collections so that the fruit would leave as soon as possible for your homes. We also had a nearby logistics center that would help us prepare the boxes and cool the fruit before loading it onto the truck so that it would endure the trip better. There was not much fruit but we had everything under control: this was our year!

Hail-damaged apricot in a farmer's hand

When we started to pick them, we realized that there was much more affected fruit than we thought. Many apricots had been hit by smaller hail balls and had bruises. This fruit cannot be sent because when you receive it it will be totally rotten and will have affected the rest. Therefore, when preparing the boxes we had to discard a lot of fruit. In the end we were able to send very few boxes. Nature has played against us this year and the truth is that it is very difficult for us to look to the future with optimism. We only hope that the boxes that have been able to leave will arrive well. We will give ourselves a few months to decide on the future of your apricots with calmness and perspective.

Carlos Arenes.

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