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Local Strawberries Almost Ready For Picking

This week several strawberry farmers anticipate their first pick of early strawberries, including Earliglow, Annapolis and Lester, for farm markets and stands. Several growers have indicated that pick-your-own operations are likely to open this weekend or the beginning of next week. More operations are expected to start picking for their stands as the week progresses. All farm stands, farm markets and pick-your-own operations are expected to be in full swing next week. If current weather conditions prevail, this week will provide favorable conditions for berries to ripen and be picked.This year’s crop has the potential to be large for the Lake Ontario region due to early drought conditions during the spring, which encouraged numerous and large blooms. Drought induces stress on the plant, which can encourage additional and larger blooms to promote its survival.Just in time, spring rains along with supplemental irrigation, encouraged full fruit fill, and average to above average size berries are expected this season. As daily temperatures rise, there should be advancement in the ripening of strawberries for many areas.Early strawberries are ranging from $3.25 to $4.50 per quart. For pick-your-own, prices will likely range from $1.50 per pound to $2 per pound. Overall, prices are expected to be somewhat higher than last year due to increased production costs.For this growing season, some Kingberries have been adversely impacted by numerous frosts during the bloom period, especially for early varieties. The most sought-after berry on the plant, the Kingberry is the primary or first berry of the plant. It is usually the biggest and most succulent berry and is highly prized by strawberry enthusiasts. While most growers this season were able to do frost control in order to protect both primary and secondary blooms from cold temperatures, some Kingberries suffered adverse affects. Second and third picks of strawberries likely will be larger in order to compensate for potentially lower Kingberry production.

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