ST. LOUIS – Strawberry season is beginning in the St. Louis region. Local farms are getting ready to pick their crop, although things are a bit delayed.
Dave Thies of Thies Farm says that overnight lows in the 30s and 40s in May has slowed down the ripening stage of the strawberries to almost a complete stop. This means they’re not ready to be picked yet.
“It hasn’t hurt them. Just slowed the whole process down and it could actually enhance the flavor and the quality of the berry we hope,” Thies said.
The cool spring could also prolong the picking season.
“Probably five-week, six-week period of blooming. So now we have ripe berries starting to ripen and still have blooms that have not set a berry yet,” Thies said. “Normally, if we pick three weeks we’re doing well. This year if the weather doesn’t get too hot we should be able to pick four to five weeks.”
The recent wet weather combined with heat would be a potential problem for the berries.
“It’s easy to lose berries when it gets too hot. Because they’re really delicate. With all this moisture we’re having now they’re full of moisture which makes them a little less tough to handle the weather,” Thies said.
When pick-your-own strawberries begins, hopefully by next weekend, the number of guests will be limited. They will pick every other row to ensure a minimum distance of 6 to 8 feet. There will be hand washing stations at the field and guests will be required to wash their hands before picking the berries and afterwards. They encourage that masks are worn and reservations will be required.
And this nice spring season didn’t just make for a good strawberry crop.
“The next main crop for us will be raspberries which will be mid-June. Then followed by black berries late June through July,” Thies said.
Peach picking will begin sometime around July 10. Thies said the apple crop is outstanding this year thanks to the nice spring weather, which will be ready for the fall.