Have you had a strawberry from Jones Family Farms yet? Well, the season is in full swing.
Terry Jones of Jones Family Farms is celebrating a tradition he began 50 years ago as a young teenager — setting out thousands of baby strawberry plants.
He recalled that day when he set up the strawberry transplanter on his new Farmall 140 tractor — still in use today.
“My late aunt, Ruth Jones, and my cousin, Melissa, sat on the machine feeding the tiny strawberries into the plant pockets.,” Jones said. “From my vantage point on the tractor seat, I looked back down the row and they were all upside-down with the roots pointed skyward. We’ve learned a lot over the years.”
May be state’s oldest strawberry operation
According to the Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky, Jones may be the state’s oldest commercial grower having continuously planted strawberries.
“I guess you might call it more of a ‘Strawberry Red Anniversary’ than the typical ‘Golden Anniversary’ that honors a half century of tradition,” Jones said. “Since it takes a year for the plants to begin production, it’s a two-year celebration. In 2013, we are recognizing the 50th anniversary of planting the ‘Queen of Fruits’ and 2014 will mark the 50th harvest.”
Two aspects of strawberries have remained constant over the last half-century, according to Jones. First, the consistent challenge of the weather. This spring is no exception. The last week of May started with 28 degrees and ended with three days of highs in the mid-90s. In both cases, the plants and fruit were protected by irrigation sprinklers.
“The second constant,” Jones said, “is the excitement and passion of our farm guests to harvest and to taste the sweet goodness of the first, ripe strawberries of the season.”
‘A good corporate citizen’
Mayor Mark Lauretti said Jones Family Farms is an important part of Shelton’s landscape, economy and culture. “It’s a 500-acre entity kept in its natural, pristine beauty as well as a tax generator,” he said. “They employ people and attract visitors. They are a good corporate citizen.”
He said he and his family have picked their share of strawberries at Jones through the years, and watched as the farm has become a more sophisticated operation with a winery and prepared foods.
Jones Family Farms is located off Route 110. Thus is mid-season for strawberries.
For more information call the Farmer Jones crop info line at 203-929-8425, visit the Jones website at www.jonesfamilyfarms.com/farm/strawberries, Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jonesfamilyfarms, or follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jonesfamilyfarm.