Connecticut strawberry growers are predicting a robust crop this season, despite the harsh winter and dry spring.
In Shelton, Terry Jones is entering his 51st season of growing berries at Jones Family Farms. The farm in the city’s White Hills section opened to the public on Thursday, June 4, for pick-your-own operations.
“We did need to irrigate regularly throughout May and the crop was off to a late start, but the warm weather has allowed us to catch up,” Jones said.
“We are excited and optimistic that this will be a bumper crop,” Jones said.
(Go to the end of this story for more details on strawberry picking at Jones Family Farms.)
Don’t miss the opportunity
Throughout the state, last winter’s heavy snowpack served to protect strawberry plants, and the cool spring that delayed field work quickly turned around during a warmer-than-normal May.
The dry spring has left many farmers more dependent on irrigation than usual, but significant rainfall that fell in much of the state early this week added to the optimism for a robust harvest during the three-week season.
“You don’t want to miss the opportunity to get Connecticut-grown strawberries,” state Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky said.
“I encourage everyone to support our hard-working growers by going to a local farm to pick your own, or to buy some at a farm stand or market while the chance lasts,” Reviczky said.
The agriculture department is promoting the state’s strawberry crop this month on several state broadcast and Internet radio stations, as well the agency’s Facebook page and on its website at www.CTGrown.gov/strawberry, where a complete list of growers and pick-your-own farms is available.
Farmer: ‘We are ready for them’
“The crop looks real good so far,” said Patty Sandness of Buell’s Orchard in Eastford. “The heavy snow made a nice blanket to protect the berry plants from the sub-zero temperatures we had this winter.
Sandness is a fourth-generation descendant of Henry Buell, who started the orchard in 1889.
At Rose’s Berry Farm in Glastonbury, owner Sandi Rose expects to have pre-picked berries ready for sale this weekend, with the popular pick-your-own likely starting next week.
“We thought the crop was going to be late but things have really turned around quickly,” Rose said. “Everybody’s looking for strawberries this time of year and we are happy to say that we are ready for them.”
Jones Farm picking details
At Jones Family Farms in Shelton, strawberry picking started June 4. Picking hours at Jones are Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m.-noon.
People who bring their Jones berry boxes receive a small credit.
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Jones Farm boulders being turned into tableware; click below:
The crop line report with its recorded message can be reached at 203-929-8425. People are advised to call the crop line before heading out.