‘Short but sweet’ strawberry season expected

PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — Strawberry season is in full swing across West Michigan, but recent heavy rain could cut the season short.

Cooperative extension agent Mark Longstroth says the Michigan strawberry crop is excellent. The berries are sweet and large but they are also in danger of seeing too much rain. Areas of West Michigan have seen two to seven inches of rain over the past week.

Joe Leduc, owner of Leduc Blueberry Farms, says the constant rainfall has made it hard for workers to pick the berries.

“I mean we had seven inches in five days during what should be harvest,  the peak of harvest. So obviously, the berries, they can’t withstand that,” said Leduc.

Berries exposed to too much water or too much heat in the field will “pop” open. This splits the berries, and causes them to spoil. During sunny stretches of weather, workers have been striving to save as many strawberries as possible. Still, Leduc estimates his season will be cut short.

“It’s going to shorten the season quite a bit. So we’ll just see how long it can last, but we’ll just try to deal with it as best we can and get as any days out of it as we can,” said Leduc.

Not all strawberry farms across West Michigan have seen as much rain as Leduc, but many of them have seen too much. Longstroth says this will lead to a short but sweet season.

Once farmers run out of berries, area stores will fill the deficit with berries from California.

Leduc says despite the limited supply, he is not going to raise his prices.

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