STANDING IN THE barn-red shed to avoid the pelting rain, Nick Pate looks out the door at his struggling raspberry patch. “They’re dying a slow death,” he says.
In past summers, berry lovers have visited Raising Cane Ranch on the banks of the Snohomish River for the juicy U-pick raspberries. But the plants started to die in 2012 because the soil is too wet, Pate says. If the farm is even open for raspberry pickers this summer, it possibly would be for fewer days.
“I’m bummed,” says Pate, in a knit cap and rain jacket. “The patch was fun. We liked it when people came out.”
He has planted cider apple trees — still small, in blue protective tubes — amid the berries, in hopes they will do better. “You have to be dynamic about meeting your needs,” he says.
Pate also planted blackberries where some of the raspberries died, and they’re doing well. In addition to berries, he offers beef, lamb and honey. Apples, currants and nuts are in the works.