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Slow start but promising results

Most strawberry crops in Douglas County, like this one near Brandon, are about two weeks behind schedule this summer, due to the cold, wet spring. (Tara Bitzan/Echo Press)

You may have to wait a couple extra weeks for locally-grown strawberries this year, but when they do ripen they should be worth the wait.

According to Ron Branch of Berry Ridge Farm in Alexandria, strawberries are about two weeks late this year due to the cold, rainy spring.

Branch noted that when the berries do ripen, however, they will be of good quality.

Some pick-your-own and pre-picked strawberry farms in Minnesota expect peak picking to occur Fourth of July weekend.

Minnesota Grown Program spokesperson Jessica Miles said it’s important to call your farm prior to picking because “picking conditions and availability will change each day.”

Two local berry picking farms that have been operating for several summers will not be open for picking this summer.

Brian and Laura Wilson, owners of Wilson’s Organic Strawberries located six miles west of Alexandria, were unavailable for comment, but a post on the company’s website states they are closed permanently.

Jim and Lynne Liepold issued a news release about Holmes City Berries, which is owned and operated by their sons Cory, Lars and Darren Liepold.

The pick-your-own berry farm near Holmes City sold its first crop in the summer of 1996. At the conclusion of the 2013 season, the family made the decision to discontinue the strawberry business for “the time being,” so that the brothers could pursue other endeavors.

The Liepolds do not plan to sell any land or equipment at this time, and will continue selling Michigan blueberries from its website,, as it has in the past.