One of America’s most favorite natural snack foods, strawberries are only in season typically until mid-July, according to Laurie Baker of Baker Farm. That means farmers and fruit-lovers alike have a few weeks left to pick fresh red berries straight from the ground.
These strawberry fields won’t be around forever. People are taking succulent red berries home from Baker Farm in Marshfield, Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon and other local strawberry fields even though some berries turned to mush during the recent weeks-long rainy spell.
“It’s depressing to see,” Baker Farm owner Laurie Baker said of the wet weather. “There’s a lot of damage, but a lot of good berries are still coming out, as long as they’re picked right away.”
Baker thought the rain would discourage families from making outings to her fields, which are off Acorn Street near Marshfield Center, but it hasn’t. Unlike Ward’s – which offers hay rides, a petting zoo and other amenities – Baker Farm is strictly a pull-over-and-pick place.
Despite the rain, customer volume has been steady.
“People just want to get out of the house,” Baker said.
With more showers expected in the coming days but sunny skies predicted for the holiday weekend, Baker is extending her season beyond July 4 by a week or so for the first time ever.
“We’ve always closed on the Fourth of July,” she said, “but (this year) all the berries aren’t ripe.”
Strawberries often thrive with temperatures in the 60s and 70s and a healthy, but not overwhelming, amount of moisture. The wet weather has stunted the growth of some plants.
Some local berries are still juicy and vibrant, but they won’t necessarily be as long-lasting as berries in years past – which is one reason why Baker is advising her customers to eat what they pick as soon as possible.
ON THE WEB: Get geared up for next berry-picking season by watching a video of young and old alike plucking blueberries at Tree-Berry Farm in Scituate, at Patriot Ledger.com. For more on strawberries, go to:University of Georgia’s strawberry page The London Strawberry Festival site “Pick your own” strawberry facts and trivia
The Patriot Ledger
ALL ABOUT BERRIES
There are about 45 calories in a cup of strawberries. About 20 varieties of strawberries exist, with “garden” strawberries the most common.
There are about 200 seeds on most strawberries, the only fruit with seeds on its outside.
Romans thought eating strawberries could address various afflictions, including fevers, melancholy, gout and bad breath.
Europeans began cultivating the fruit in the 14th century. Strawberries were originally called strewberries – from the Old English word streawberige – because the fruit was “strewn” amongst the plant’s leaves.
The red berry was considered poisonous in Argentina until the mid-1800s.
Strawberries didn’t take root – or get cultivated widely – in California until the early 1900s.
Today, the strawberry industry in the U.S. takes in about $1.2 billion annually.
For more on strawberries, go to: pickyourown.org/
View Local strawberry farms in a larger map