BARRY, IL — Owners of an Adams County berry farm said Thursday that drought conditions have already caused a major loss. Norm and Nancy Boone said these growing conditions are the worse they have seen in the last decade.
This year has been an extremely strange very hard year," Boone explained. "This is probably the worst year we have ever had,
The husband and wife brought a retirement vision to life 10 years ago. They created a blueberry, raspberry and strawberry farm in Rural Adams County.
Last year the berry farm sold nearly 1,500 pints of blueberries. This year unfavorable conditions only allowed them to raise half of that.
With nearly 300 blueberry crops in the ground, single digit temperatures and snowfall in April really hurt this year’s crop.
Early May," Boone explained. "We had 95-degree weather and the plants just can't adjust to that, that quickly,
They said normally blueberry picking is from the middle of June through the end of August. Dry weather and hot temperatures forced them to harvest their crops earlier. Strawberries took the biggest hit.
In years past the strawberry crop has produce 800 quarts. That’s not the case this year.
Picked 126," Boone explained. "We are looking to maybe eliminate strawberries from our production,
The Boone's strawberry crop has fallen nearly 70% in the last few years, but raspberries, on the other hand, are a different story.
"Percentage wise," Boone explained. they were our best crop and they were the ones we spent the least amount of time taking care of this year.
That's how the Boone's hope to spend the rest of their retirement.
"With us being in our 70's if we look at replanting the bushes that we lost because of the drought, the Japanese beetles and because blue berry have a tendency to have a fungal virus get on to their branches," Boone explained. "We don't look to replace the plants that we have lost because that would put us up around 80," said Boone.
Norm and Nancy Boone's berries are served at Thyme Square Cafe, Grown-N-Gathered and Terrapin Farms in Quincy.