U.S. Markets closed

Cooler temperatures delay strawberry picking

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) -- Cool temperatures have delayed this year's strawberry season, and many Wisconsin farms have either just started picking or haven't at all.

Strawberry growers usually plant multiple varieties to extend their season. The varieties ripen about four days apart, so farms can get in about a month of picking. This year, they said, the season could go into mid-July.

Wayne Zastrow, who owns Zastrow's Strawberries in Mayville, told The Reporter Media (http://fondul.ac/14mSTCr) that he was open one day this week and people had picked all the berries by noon.

"Even though we have the 'Closed' sign up people keep driving in because they don't want to miss the season," Zastrow said. "The crop looks really good and by the middle of next week there will be lots of ripe strawberries."

Dave Mischler, who operates Mischler Berry Farm in Waupun, said his 15 acres of berries need a few more sunny days.

"Typically we would probably be through our early berries already," he said. "By Father's Day we are always picking, but not this year."

Still, he said he expects it to be a good year because his plants are loaded with green berries. In full season, he'll sell between 30 and 100 flats of pre-picked fruit each day.

Prellwitz Produce outside Ripon opened Thursday. Chuck Prellwitz said early-season berries are larger so those are the best ones for people who want to freeze them.

"Wash the berries, let them sit on a paper towel to dry and then freeze them overnight on cookie sheets. The best way to eat them is when they are still thawing," he said.


Information from: The Reporter, http://www.fdlreporter.com