Strawberry growers report ripening is ahead of scheduleThere is plenty of good news for local berry lovers this year. Minnesota strawberries are ripening early – in some cases as much as two to three weeks ahead of normal – and most growers are reporting an excellent crop.
There is plenty of good news for local berry lovers this year. Minnesota strawberries are ripening early – in some cases as much as two to three weeks ahead of normal – and most growers are reporting an excellent crop.
Some pick-your-own strawberry farms in the metro area and southern Minnesota expect to open for picking during the first week of June. With the overall mild spring, most strawberry farmers are anticipating a great picking season, including Jim Birkholz of Pleasant Valley Orchard in Chisago County.
“The berries are developing nicely,” said Birkholz. “It looks like our customers will have a lot of fun picking and enjoying a nice crop of delicious berries. And I’d like to remind customers to just be sure to call ahead for an update on the crop and picking conditions!”
That reminder is echoed by Jessica Rovie of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Minnesota Grown Program. She says picking conditions can vary from farm to farm and can fluctuate from day to day depending on the weather.
“Calling the berry farm or checking their website is always a good idea before you visit but the unusual spring weather makes it even more important to do so this year,” said Rovie. “Our strawberry season only comes once each year and we don’t want anyone to miss out on the wonderful flavor of fresh picked berries!”
Berry growers say they expect to see blueberries and summer raspberries ripen ahead of schedule as well. While those crops typically ripen at the very end of the strawberry season, it’s possible that summer raspberries may ripen faster than usual, resulting in more overlap between the two seasons.
Consumers can quickly find their nearest berry farm by visiting www.minnesotagrown.com