October and November is harvest time at Berries Mesopotamico. During this short period, the activity level skyrockets on the farm at exactly the same time as the heat becomes barely tolerable, with average temperature above 35 degrees Celsius.
Temperatures also yo-yo throughout the year, from scorching hot to freezing cold. To stop the berries perishing, a sophisticated irrigation system is in place which Sergio, the farm manager, monitors around the clock.
The fluctuating temperatures are not the only threat the farm has to contend with. Hailstorms are a frequent occurrence. So the bushes are grown under large protective nets to protect the fragile berries.
Despite these difficulties, ‘things are going great’, explained Pablo, a member of the owning family, with an air of confidence as bees buzz around him in the green fields. ‘My family became interested in Fairtrade on a trip to Europe where we saw the logo on many products. We got curious and wanted to make sure our farm had a full corporate social responsibility program. Fairtrade is a big part of that.’
Julie Francoeur is a member of our producer services team and visited Berries Mesopotamico on a field trip to Argentina.
Photos courtesy of Jean-Sébastien Lévesque