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July 4, 2013

Strawberry season winds down at local farms

Strawberry season started late and is almost over

Nothing says summer more than a bowl of ripe, red strawberries.

But strawberry fields won’t last forever.

It’s an annual tradition for many families to converge on local farms to pick fresh berries straight from the field.

Many days have been a bit soggy to start, but the faithful still come to pick their own. But time is running out.

The sprawling fields at Sunnycrest Farm in Londonderry offer pick-your-own strawberry action every day as long as the berries last.

Wet weather put a damper on the strawberry season this year, Sunnycrest farm manager Dan Hicks said. His High Range Road farm is wrapping up the strawberry season, one that started late due to the heavier than usual rainfall this spring.

“The rain has been a hassle,” he said “Every strawberry grower out there is having one of those years. The berries are on the ground, close to where the water is.”

Sunnycrest offers early, mid- and late-season berry choices. Once the strawberries are gone, the blueberries and raspberries will be ready. The farm has a berry for everyone.

“And we also just started cherries,” Hicks said.

J&F Farms on Route 102 in Derry is still hanging on to the less than stellar season for strawberries. Farm stand manager Melissa Dolloff said the farm was at the mercy of the weather this year.

“It wasn’t a great season to begin with,” she said. “We had a lot of berries that just didn’t ripen correctly.”

Dolloff said rain delayed the season and the farm also lost almost one entire bed of strawberries due to the wet conditions and colder spring temperatures.

“The bees just couldn’t pollinate properly,” she said.

Just how long the berries will last is up to Mother Nature, Dolloff said.

“It’s just hard to predict,” she said.

Hicks said Sunnycrest’s berry season will continue all summer. Once the strawberries are gone, the next variety starts.

“We try to stretch it into the apple and peach season,” he said.

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