Strawberry season has officially ended. While this year’s crop was not what people had wanted, it was a successful season for strawberry growers.
The cold and wet weather were the factors that caused there to be a low quantity of fruit available. Farmers reported that the berries that survived were of excellent quality.
Bottom View Farm owner Ralph Cook said sales began later than usual this year beginning around the first of May rather than late April.
“The season lasted longer than I had ever seen it,” he said. “I don’t ever remember picking strawberries in June.
Bottom View Farm, Wade Farmz, and Bradley Country Acres use the plasticulture method of raising strawberries. A farm machine lays the plastic and punches a hole for the plant, then drops the plant in the hole very similar to the way tobacco farmers plant their crops. There is a drip layer for irrigation.
Chandler seems to be the berry of choice by most farmers in the Portland area while Ruby June and Sweet Charley’s are favorites. According to Cathy Bradley of Bradley Country Acres, the Sweet Charley’s came in April 22 and were finished on May 7 with only six picking days available during those 18 days because of the weather. They had a two-week dead period before the berries began to ripen again.
Some farmers that had “you pick” had social distancing rules because of COVID-19. Bradley Kountry Acres began picking to sell, but because of the demand for berries they opened their crop to “you pick.”
Cathy Bradley said, “It was not the crop we’ve had in the past and the reason was mostly weather related. It hasn’t been a good strawberry season for us. We had quality but not quantity.”