Strawberry growers expect to start the season early this year despite a recent cold snap. Many growers in the eastern part of the state are already picking berries nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.
“Our growers are very experienced with dealing with late frosts and know how to protect their crops,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Because of their diligent efforts, this season shows a lot of promise with plenty of strawberries available. Plus, since we had warm weather in winter, consumers will be able to enjoy fresh berries even earlier.”
Some you-pick farms are already open for business. T.C. Smith Produce Farm in Lenoir County has been picking strawberries since April 1. Owner Curtis Smith says he expects to have strawberries through June. Smith, who is vice president of the N.C. Strawberry Association, says growers across the state report having a good crop this year.
The majority of growers in Eastern North Carolina should have strawberries available this week. In the Piedmont, consumers can expect strawberries by the last week of April. Western growers will have strawberries available by the first week of May.
To celebrate the season, Strawberry Day will be held at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh on May 6th.
North Carolina is the fourth-largest producer of strawberries in the nation. In 2015, N.C. growers produced 14.3 million pounds of strawberries, according to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.