State Agricultural Officials Announce the Start of Strawberry Season
BOSTON – Tuesday, June 11, 2013 – As the strawberry season begins, officials from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) are reporting today that strawberries are emerging right on time.
“The purchasing of fresh strawberries at local markets offers many benefits to the public,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “Fresh, local strawberries are not only delicious and healthy, but purchasing them at community markets also offers many families the opportunity to enjoy a classic summertime activity.”
With approximately 130 local farms offering fresh strawberries, plenty of locations are available for the whole family to go outside, enjoy the warm weather and pick one of the best summer fruits in Massachusetts. Due to the cold spring rains and intense summer-like heat waves in the past few months, the timing of crops has varied slightly amongst farms. Some local farmers have determined their season to either be growing a little early or on time compared to their past strawberry patches. Many farmers will be kicking off their official strawberry season within the next two weeks.
“Through the past week, I’ve noticed the growth of my strawberry fields arriving right on time,” said local farmer Steve Verrill of Verrill Farm in Concord. “In late May, we had some below freezing temperatures. We had irrigated for four nights to spare my crops from the destructive and uncanny frost and then the recent hot temperatures stimulated fast growth. In less than a week, the ‘Pick-Your-Own’ season for strawberries will be ready.”
Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury predicted their strawberry crops to arrive earlier than usual. This three-generation farm plans to celebrate their strawberry season around the second week of June and will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, check Cider Hill Farm’s website at www.ciderhill.com.
Tougas Family Farm of Northborough has determined that their strawberry patches will be ready to pick starting in early June, unlike last year’s early growth. The farm opens as soon as the fruit ripens for the strawberry season. For more information, check Tougas Family Farm’s website at www.tougasfarm.com.
Local farmers’ markets, roadside farm stands or pick-your-own operations are a great place to find fresh strawberries. Massachusetts growers are welcoming visitors from across the state and beyond to experience their fresh, locally grown crops. The locations of strawberry farms and information on events and festivals can be found at www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/map.htm. This website is also a great way to find lists of agricultural destinations all over the Commonwealth.
DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation and Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community in order to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr and follow us on twitter at @MDARCommish and @massgrown.