Strawberry Harvest Brings Pick Your Own’ Crowds

According to Dan Hicks of Sunnycrest Farm, strawberries are in ready supply this year.

“We have a very good crop of strawberries, that’s one of the crops that came through very well, but I can’t believe the response we’re getting. Very large crowds, it’s all good, it’s all good,” Hicks said.

He said he was hoping that Sunnycrest could stay open every day and not have to wait for ripening days in between.

“But that’s Mother Nature. We have a very nice crop and very big crowds this year,” he said. “Farms shut down in November and December, most of us, and we have to get all the way until June for our funding, so a lot of these strawberry beds we count on to start paying back January, February and March. That’s how farms run – we can’t grow 12 months out of the year up here.”

Hicks said the planting of additional beds helped this year.

“We put in two brand new strawberry beds last year and new beds produce more berries,” he explained. “The older your bed, the less berries are produced and the less size you have, so you have to rotate beds every three years. We put two new ones in so that’s what I attribute the good berries to. We’re also on trickle irrigation. It’s been a very dry spring for us and we’ve had to water and water and water and thank goodness, we have all the trickle irrigation on the strawberries.”

Hicks said he’s hoping to get through the second week of July with his strawberry crop.

“It all depends,” he said. “Right now the weather is going to start to turn warm, and hot weather ripens the berries very quickly and that’s one of the things we have to deal with, making sure the ripening works out. The weather has been really good this week.”

On Saturday morning, the strawberry fields at Sunnycrest were closed because of the large amount of pickers on Friday.

Wayne H. Elwood of Elwood Orchards said his strawberry bed was “picked out” over the weekend. That does not necessarily mean they have no strawberries, just that what was ripe at the time has been picked, but more will ripen shortly.

“It’s going pretty good – we expect more will be ripened by Thursday or so,” Elwood said on Monday.

Elwood said a lot of people came to the farm for picking. He has only one strawberry bed.

“It’s looking like there’s quite a lot of berries,” he added, and noted that in the middle of July or early August the peaches will be ready. “And then of course it’ll be time for apples in October.

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