Cool weather has delayed some strawberries — but they’re coming!
“We’re probably going to be picking the latest we’ve ever picked, in two to three weeks,” Wegmeyer said on May 6. He attributed the delay to cooler spring temperatures but said he still expects good yields. “I don’t think the cold did any significant damage other than just delay us.”
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported May 5 that, on many of the state’s farms, cool temperatures in late April have delayed strawberries by a couple of weeks.
There are approximately 263 strawberry growers in Virginia on 252 harvested acres, according to the most recent agricultural census.
Wegmeyer, who also raises pumpkins and vegetables, serves on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Emerging Agriculture Enterprises Advisory Committee. He said his farm has received numerous calls and emails from families who are all set to pick strawberries. “We’re up here where there are heavy population bases, and people want to have experiences with their families and understand where their food comes from,” he said. The farm has three pick-your-own locations.
Wegmeyer called strawberries “the most intensely managed crop that I have” and noted that he tests weekly tissue samples from the plants to ensure that he’s producing as tasty a product as possible.
His enthusiasm indicates the work is worth it.
“I love being a strawberry farmer,” he said. “There’s nothing better than being able to go out and pick your breakfast. … My family and I eat strawberry shortcake every day during strawberry season. It’s quite a life to live, I tell you.”
VDACS maintains a directory of pick-your-own strawberry operations and farmers’ markets at virginiagrown.com.