May’s overnight freeze felt like a “cruel dream” for one Western Massachusetts farmer.
The freeze on May 18 caused Sobieski’s River Valley Farm in Whately to lose about 80% of its blueberries this year, according to a GoFundMe for the farm.
“Unfortunately, a loss of this magnitude cannot be overcome without financial help,” the GoFundMe states. “We have invested almost an entire year of work to make this year’s harvest possible, with another year of work yet to be done to ensure the health of the bushes for the possibility of a bountiful crop next year.”
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Robert Sobieski, owner of Sobieski’s River Valley Farm, is asking for the public’s help through the GoFundMe. He is hoping to raise $50,000.
As of Wednesday morning, he has raised $1,880.
“Our family relies on our blueberry crop – not only does it provide income for us, our employees, and support the local economy, but it is a part of us – and we know the traditions you have created every summer whether with pick-your-own, buying berries at the stand, or through one of our farm partners, it is part of YOU too,” the GoFundMe reads.
The money will also be used to buy freeze protection equipment, the GoFundMe states.
Sobieski’s family has been growing blueberries for 46 years, he wrote. They have faced weather problems in the past, he wrote, but “with extreme weather events occurring more often farming is becoming increasingly difficult.”
The farm shared photos of the impacted blueberries. They also said they’ll be providing more updates as “the season progresses and we navigate this unprecedented time.”