Strawberry season starts early for parts of Minnesota: Pick-your-own, pre-picked available early June
Minnesota strawberries are ahead of schedule and the season is shaping up nicely, the Minnesota Grown Program reports. Many growers in Southern Minnesota and the metro area have reported fields full of blossoms and are now seeing reddening berrie...
Minnesota strawberries are ahead of schedule and the season is shaping up nicely, the Minnesota Grown Program reports.
Many growers in Southern Minnesota and the metro area have reported fields full of blossoms and are now seeing reddening berries. Some have picked their first light harvest of the season, while others expect to open for pick-your-own/pre-picked sales as early as the first two weeks of June.
Farmers across the state expect a good crop this year. The mild winter coupled with adequate moisture in the spring helps make sizeable and delicious strawberries. Although some farms lost early blossoms to the mid-May freeze and may see slightly smaller crop quantities, the quality of this season's crop was not affected. Many farms weathered the freeze with little to no adverse effects on crops.
Typically, seasonal availability begins in the south and moves northward 10-14 days later. Many farmers agree that the season will likely extend longer than usual, wrapping up around mid- to late-July. Mild temperatures in the 70s and low 80s extend the season and allow berries to ripen at a steady pace, while excessive heat can cause the berries to ripen more quickly and shorten the season.
As always, it is important to call a local berry farm before a visit. Crops can vary greatly and differ from farm to farm depending on the varieties planted, soil type, and the number of customers picking.
Minnesota Grown Program spokesperson Jessica Miles says berry picking is a great educational family activity.
"Picking is lots of fun and it's an easy way to get children to the farm so they can see where food comes from. The early season is great timing with school being let out soon," Miles said in a news release. To ensure picking day is a success remember to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Don't forget a hat and sunscreen.
Miles says the printed Minnesota Grown Directory and website provide ideas for picking, eating, and storing locally-grown strawberries. Consumers can easily find their nearest berry farm by visiting www.minnesotagrown.com and searching by city or zip code. The 2016 Minnesota Grown Directory includes 76 strawberry farms, 31 blueberry farms, and 40 summer raspberry farms along with orchards, farmers markets, garden centers, and other ways to buy directly from growers. Consumers can order their free printed copy of the directory online at www.minnesotagrown.com or by calling 1-888-868-7476.