Fresh Local Strawberries
Our strawberry crop is a big part of our business, we have gone through seasons of both good and not so good. I will give brief outline of what it takes to grow a good crop of berries
-In 2010 we purchased business from Raymond Frey and took on the challenge of growing 4 acres of strawberries. We quickly found that we were in a very steep learning curve which involved the growing aspects to working with the employees needed to harvest the crop.
-The strawberries we grow are known as June bearing, we plant them in the spring, fertilize, water, and keep them weed free all year to get crop the following year. The bearing year we renovate them after harvest and fertilize and water to get another crop off same patch for the following year.
-1st year is establishment with the next 2 years as bearing years before we get rid of patch and move to new planting.
-We have irrigation equipment that allows us to run drip tape in each row of berries and we can water and apply fertigation through the drip line, this method of irrigation is very efficient as we are applying water directly to the root zone of the strawberries. When we plant the berries this drip line gets laid directly below the plants and gives us the advantage of watering plants when needed. We have experienced much better plant vigor and better weed control. The strawberry plants grow better which give the weeds more competition. The downside is the added cost, time to install, maintenance needed to keep system working the 3 years the berries are in and then the added labor of taking drip tape out after the 3rd year. We have had experience with and without and are convinced it is worth the extra effort.
-We have had considerable loss because of a late spring frost so we have invested in an overhead sprinkling system for frost protection. This system is setup with sprinklers every 60 ft throughout field and needs to be capable of delivering at least one tenth of an inch an hour in order to give the crop the needed protection. In 2015 we had a late frost on May 23 where we would have lost the bulk of crop had it not been for this system. We have pictures of the ice that accumulated through the entire night and also picture of thermometer down -4 Celsius.
-We use as much organic practice as possible (hand weeding, crop rotation, sprays that are organic certified) but we have found that to grow a consistent crop of strawberries each year we do need to use treatment but always stay within the guidelines of the products used. The strawberries we sell are no different than the ones our children pick and eat when we go for an evening stroll to check out the crop.
-We have fresh picked berries available in farm market or you can enjoy a day out and do your own picking. Check our website on the timing and availability of the crop!