Where are the berries?

Wed. Jun. 25, 2014

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Where are the berries?

I just noticed some of the berry farms opening up over the weekend but they’re late and in some cases aren’t open yet for strawberry picking. According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the strawberries are a couple of weeks behind.  Normally wrapping up the season around the 4th of July in southern Minnesota, the MDA is reporting that that will likely be their peak this year.  Northern Minnesota is usually a week or two behind.

Strawberry 'Tribute'
Strawberry ‘Tribute’

The good news is the plants are very healthy, if they haven’t been flooded out!  Farmers are expecting a great crop and perhaps, a slightly longer season.

Minnesota Grown has a directory to 85 berry farms around the state!   Spokesperson, Jessica Miles, says call first to make sure they’re open.

You can expect to see raspberries and blueberries ripen later than normal too. It’s typical to see these crops ripen near the end of the strawberry picking season.

Should you choose to grow your own, there are some great berries for Minnesota.  ‘Itasca’ comes to mind as does ‘Tristar’ and ‘Tribute’.  Pick berries every other day for peak ripeness and to avoid leaving fruit lay fallen on the ground.  this will just attract insects and disease you don’t want!  Besides, as good as homegrown and farm fresh tastes, why waste any!

Strawberry 'Itasca'
Strawberry ‘Itasca’
Strawberry tristar
Strawberry tristar

The U of MN extension has lots more information on varieties and growing essentials for the home gardener. There are 3 types of strawberries that can be grown here.  June bearing, everbearing, which actually deliver 2 crops, one in the Spring and another in the Fall and the newer “day-neutral’ that bear throughout the season.

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