The raspberry harvest in Whatcom County fell by 13.1 percent this year, but that's compared to the largest harvest ever in 2011.
Whatcom County's 96 growers produced 57.6 million pounds of raspberries this past summer, according to newly released data from the Washington Red Raspberry Commission.
That was down from 66.3 million pounds the year before.
"I would say that it's a reasonable average production in total," said Henry Bierlink, the commission's executive director. "We actually have a few more acres in the ground, but the production per acre was off significantly."
A cold, wet spring made production a challenge because it hampered the ability of bees to pollinate the raspberry plants. And continued moisture in the air and the ground made controlling mold an issue, according to Bierlink.
That, in turn, meant most of the raspberries were lower grade and sold for juice at a low price.
High-quality fruit went for a "decent price," he added.
"Overall, this year was more of a down than an up," Bierlink said, adding that the stretch of warm, dry weather that started in July occurred after the peak of harvest.
Whatcom County's raspberry production represented 92.2 percent of the harvest in Washington state.
"We had a relatively good year last year and not a great year this year," Bierlink said. "In agriculture you have those swings. You're dealing with the natural environment; you don't have management on that. You have to take what you can get."
The 2012 raspberry harvest also dipped elsewhere in Washington, with the overall production down 13.5 percent.
Harvest data for Oregon and British Columbia wasn't available Thursday, Oct. 25.
A look at the amount of raspberries harvested in Whatcom County since 2001.
2012: 57.6 million pounds
2011: 66.3 million pounds
2010: 54.3 million pounds
2009: 58.9 million pounds
2008: 48.2 million pounds
2007: 47.8 million pounds
2006: 49.2 million pounds
2005: 58.7 million pounds
2004: 45.9 million pounds
2003: 54.5 million pounds
2002: 58.4 million pounds
2001: 57.5 million pounds
Source: Washington Red Raspberry Commission
Reach KIE RELYEA at email@example.com or call 715-2234.