Monday, April 25, 2011

Early Strawberries Are Ready To Pick

POSTED: 9:21 am EDT April 25, 2011
Sonny Hedgecock, HPE
One of the most anticipated local crops is finally here. These strawberries are an early variety that John Hedgecock is experimenting with. More
With recent warm temperatures, some strawberries are ripe for picking.Some crops may be 10 days to two weeks ahead of schedule this year, according to farmers, who expect a bountiful crop.“We did not lose any to the cold weather and our early crop of Sweet Charlie is ready,” said John Hedgecock, who raises berries on four acres in Davidson County. “We had our rows covered and had good protection.”Berries are usually ready for picking about May 1, but several farmers have started shipping berries to the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Customers who want to pick their own berries can visit farms like Hedgecock’s operation.“The regular varieties are starting to come in also,” Hedgecock said.So far, farmers have said they expect their prices to be about the same as last year, ranging from $1 a pound for customers who pick their own to $8.50 to $9.50 for a gallon.Growers know that early spring weather can feature summer warmth and sometimes chilly nights. Cool spring weather can prolong the season, while hot weather, especially in May, can stop it.“It is hard to know what the weather will do,” Hedgecock said. “If it gets cold again, we’ll have to cover the berries.”Strawberry-picking season generally lasts from five to eight weeks, depending on the weather. May is peak season and officially regarded as Strawberry Month in North Carolina. The Piedmont Triad Farmers Market will host Strawberry Day on May 15. This article appeared in Monday's edition of the High Point Enterprise.

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