"They are one of my favorite crops here," Bob Douglas said. "Between that and the sweet cherries. I mean, they are not as common."
Fourth-generation farmer Bob Douglas owns the Douglas Orchard with his brother, Scott. Although apples are their big ticket item, he says he has always loved growing raspberries. But the brothers received some bad news last year.
"One of our neighbors picked some berries and they got them out and said, 'You have a problem here!' And yeah, we definitely do," Douglas said.
A new invasive species, the spotted-wing drosophila, has been buzzing through the nation since 2008. And last year, it made its way to Vermont. These Asian fruit flies will wreak havoc on soft fruits, especially raspberries.
"Last year, we weren't prepared for it at all. We didn't know it was coming," Douglas said. "And it pretty well totaled the crop by the time we found it was there. It was too late."
And this year, the flies are back and the damage is even greater. Of the half acre of red, plump raspberries, Douglas estimates up to 80 percent of the berries are destroyed. The flies will lay larvae in the fruit, and once hatched, will turn the insides into mush.
Douglas says a good raspberry will come clean off its stem. So, when a berry is picked and leaves behind a red juice, he already knows the berry is bad.
Douglas says this year, they tried preparing for the flies. He says they spent thousands in spraying and reconfiguring the bushes, but it didn't work. Douglas says even though berries are a side crop to their apples, he isn't sure how much longer they can take the pests.
"Next year, we are going to try thinning the plants more, so the spray will penetrate through them more. But every time you do that, it's more labor and more money. And three strikes we are probably out if it doesn't work next year," Douglas said.
Although the raspberries look succulent and sweet this year, he hopes they can find a way to finally eat them, next year.
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:09 AM EST2013-12-08 12:09:14 GMT
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York. The licenses will be awarded next year after voters passed an amendment allowing Vegas-style casinos outside Indian land. FourMore >>
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:06 AM EST2013-12-08 12:06:06 GMT
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used. The Adirondack Park Agency is considering recommendations for the land in the towns of IndianMore >>
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:04 AM EST2013-12-08 12:04:16 GMT
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg. Police say at about 8:40 p.m. Gerald Begin rolled his car on Route 5 and was thrown out of the vehicle. He was taken toMore >>
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:43 PM EST2013-12-08 01:43:53 GMT
Police in New Hampshire are investigating an accident on Interstate 89 that claimed two lives. It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon. The initial investigation revealedMore >>
It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon, N.H. Saturday.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:38 PM EST2013-12-08 01:38:15 GMT
A Burlington family is remembering the life of a young teen through artwork. Emily Lyman died of Leukemia at just fifteen years old, in December of last year. Now, her mother, Monica Lyman, is holdingMore >>
A Burlington family is remembering the life of a young teen through artwork.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:17 PM EST2013-12-08 01:17:57 GMT
There's still plenty of time to check off gifts on that Christmas list. The 21st Annual Vermont International Festival has something for everyone. The event began at the Champlain Valley Exposition asMore >>
Shoppers could find everything from Yoga mats from South America to jewelry from Tibet.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:11 PM EST2013-12-08 01:11:52 GMT
It's out with the old and in with the new. A new ice skating rink in Stowe has replaced the old Jackson Arena. Saturday, the town welcomed skaters to take a spin on the ice at the new arena's grand opening. TheMore >>
The new skating rink will also offer a learn to skate program and hockey initiation programs for all ages.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:05 PM EST2013-12-08 01:05:37 GMT
We have some ideas for what you can do on this Sunday, December 8, 2013. ART HOP The South End Arts & Business Association is holding its 6th Annual South End Holiday sHOP event on December 6-8, 2013.More >>
We have some ideas for what you can do on this Sunday, December 8, 2013.More >>