BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Early May is the start of the fruit crop seasons here at our local farms, many which are gearing up for people to pick their own strawberries as soon as this weekend.
At Eckert’s Farm in Belleville, strawberry season offically kicks off Saturday.
“It looks like a great crop, which I think then is a great indicator for the rest of the year,” said Jill Tantillo, Vice President at Eckert’s. If the strawberries are good, then the rest of the year’s going to be great.”
Tantillo says that they love bringing families out to the farm, so they can see how strawberries are grown and of course do some sampling right off the bush.
“You can’t get any better than that,” said Tantillo. “The strawberries we buy the rest of the year in the store, they’re good. But there’s nothing better than right off the plant,” she said.
Tantillo says they’ll be open this weekend, but their full season starts next weekend, along with their Strawberry Festival.
Over at Thies Farms and Greenhouses in St. Louis, owner Dave Thies says their crop is also looking great, thanks in part to the weather.
“The cool spring is conducive to a good strawberry crop, and now with a little bit of heat coming on, I think they’ll ripen nicely. The flavor seems to be there right now, so we’re excited as usual,” said Thies.
They’ll start pick-your-own around May 9th, just in time to get some strawberries with mom to celebrate Mother’s Day.
“Hoping next weekend should be a great weekend between Mother’s Day plant season and strawberries. It’ll be fun,” he said.
Strawberry season will last about four weeks at both farms.
“We try to have a couple different varieties to try to last as long as possible, but again that’s dependent on temperatures mostly and weather in general,” said Thies.