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Conditions Aren’t Ripe Yet For Berry Season

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This week is supposed to be the kick-off for the opening of fruit and vegetable stands and the arrival of local produce to farmers markets.

But many fields across the metro look empty and barren, with not many plants ripe or even green.

So when will the crops arrive and what seems to be the problem?

Experts and farmers said the biggest part of the problem is heavy clay-like soil. It’s causing farmers to take much longer to get vegetables planted, and now they don’t know how well they’ll grow in the soil.

Flowers are in bloom and fall planting is coming up okay, but other than that it’s been a tough break for farmers like Al Striner at Peterson Produce.

“We did get some beans and we’re expecting a good garlic harvest, but when does it end?” said Striner.

He said corn likely won’t be ready for at least another month, after the Fourth of July. He said he also had to plant tomatoes in a different spot because of the soil, and those might not arrive until August.

He didn’t get any peas, and onions are planted but now their roots will have to break through very heavy soil.

“God knows what you’re going to get when you got a field of dirt like this. We got heavy, heavy, clay,” Striner said.

He said strawberries are in better shape, but Kit Dekavski said they should all be ripe already.

“This is the latest we’ll be seeing berries in the last few years for sure,” Dekavski said.

Some customers on the search have a strategy ready to go.

“I try to look for the big ones and usually find a spot and go after them,” said youngster Grace Beltrand, who wanted to pick some berries with her sister Wednesday but couldn’t because of the conditions.

Most people looking for fresh berries won’t be able to get into fields until next week.

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