Whately farm’s blueberry crop destroyed by recent frost

WHATELY, Mass. (WWLP) – A farm in Whately is asking for help from the community after last week’s frost practically destroyed their blueberry crop.

In the 46 year history of River Valley Farm, they’ve never seen their crop devastated like this and now they’re trying to figure out what to do. The blueberries might look viable but when you open them up, they’re completely dead inside.

Owner Robert Sobieski didn’t think the temperatures would dip as low as they did last week and now most of his crop is gone. It’s particularly frustrating because before the frost this year’s crop looked promising.

“The crop was looking beautiful. There was a lot of work involved, an entire year’s worth of work to just get to this harvest and it was all lost within just a few hours,” said Sobieski.

The owner is looking into whether he could receive state or federal assistance, but that could take some time.

“I’m waiting to see if there may be a potential disaster declared but unfortunately that does not happen or there won’t be assistance until 2024,” said Sobieski.

While there won’t really be any blueberries, the farm still has bills to pay. That’s why Sobieski is turning to GoFundMe, where they’re hoping to cover expenses but also invest in frost and freeze protection equipment.

Still, asking for help is not something that comes easy for Sobieski, “It’s very difficult to put yourself out there and ask for, I don’t know if you want to call it a hand out from the community, but desperate times require desperate measures.”

They’re hoping to raise $50,000.

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