MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This year’s strawberry season is lasting a little longer than normal in Minnesota.
Cooler June temperatures are not only helping to extend the season, but also helping the growing conditions.
That is especially true in the north metro. Berry Hill Farm in Anoka is seeing some of its best fruit in years.
“This field, we’ve picked over three times already. And what’s amazing this year is we still have extremely-large fruit after three pickings,” said Berry Hill Farm owner Cliff Rowe. “Personally, we’re very happy with what’s happening this season.”
Rowe says the spring weather conditions were ideal, with intermittent rain followed by windy conditions to dry out the plants.
“With the rain, they’re getting plump, so we actually have size and phenomenal flavor this year,” Rowe said.
Cooler temperatures are allowing the fruit to grow and ripen slowly.
“The cool temps in the morning hold them, so if it’s 90 degrees for many days in a row, they would just get ripe so quick,” Rowe said.
Berry Hill Farm is usually one of the last to end its strawberry picking. Its location is further north than many berry farms and naturally has cooler weather.
The below-average temperatures this year are also allowing the farm to extend the season beyond the Fourth of July, which typically marks the end of the berry-picking season.
“I think this will probably be the record year as far as length,” Rowe said.
Families like the Jansens are taking advantage of great fruit, leaving with large baskets of berries. Mya, her mother Patty, and her two brothers Hank and Mack tried berry picking for the first time.
“I’m looking for ones without brown spots or something like that,” Mya Jansen said.
The family was surprised by the quantity and size of the fruit.
“Amazing, I don’t think I’ve seen a bad one yet,” Patty Jansen said. “They’re amazing.”
While Berry Hill Farm is celebrating a great crop, some nearby berry farms aren’t faring so well. The hail storm that rolled through the north metro in mid-June wiped out several berry patches in the area.
“For all of us, we feel for each other because you’ve gone through a lot of work and are about to get a profit, and you can be wiped out the day before you start,” Rowe said.