By Heather Overton
The recent cold temperatures kept strawberry growers busy frost protecting their plants, but it appears to have been successful. Fresh strawberries are starting to come in now in Eastern counties, with more expected over the next two weeks.
Summary of Talking Points:
I am happy to get to talk about one of my favorite “seasons” in North Carolina – strawberry season!
Besides warmer temperatures, you know it is spring in North Carolina when you see daffodils, forsythia and strawberries.
Last year, strawberries were a little early because of warm weather, but the cooler, damp start this year has delayed the berries a little and made for smaller plants.
Fortunately, it looks like the row covers and other frost protection efforts used by growers recently mostly did their job to protect the tender blooms.
We did hear of some blossom losses in the northern Piedmont and foothills area of the state from reports from growers and our regional agronomists,.
But overall, it looks like the strawberry crop survived that temperature drop, with a few berries starting to show up this week in the southeastern counties and more berries expected to be ready next week.
Over the next three to four weeks, we should see the season hit its stride with pick-your-own farms and roadside stands opening statewide.
Growers are also expecting a good crop. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate, and we will be able to have strawberries through Memorial Day.
We rank fourth nationally in the production of strawberries, with around 1,100 acres grown.
One of the fun and educational things about strawberry season, is that you can make a family outing out of picking strawberries at one of the pick-your-own farms.
It’s fun to take the little ones out and see them pick AND EAT berries from the field, plus you help them learn where their food comes from. I know my grandkids love picking fresh strawberries.
There are many resources available to help you locate a local farm near you. You can search our Got to Be NC website at www.gottobenc.com, by clicking on the pick-your-own filter.
The N.C. Strawberry Association has also put together a list of pick-your-own farms on its website at www.ncstrawberry.com . Click on the farm locator link to look for farms in your area.
Throughout the pandemic, we saw growing interest and support of North Carolina farmers. We want to continue that momentum in 2021. When you buy local, that money stays in your community and you ensure continued access to local foods.Source : ncagr.gov