Spring has finally arrived, but the rough weather of the past winter had strawberry growers working extra hard this year, to make sure their plants were not damaged or destroyed by Mother Nature.
The challenging winter weather included a record freeze in early January and a late cold snap earlier this month.
"With most strawberry varieties during that first few weeks of harvest, the quality of the berry really is not there, it is still a good tasting berry and there is not going to be a problem eating it, but it is not going to be what we typically expect for middle of the season," said Howard Wallace, Extension Service Agent with the Columbus County Cooperative Extension Service. "You may have some berries that may not be fully pollinated or adequately pollinated, so they may be a little 'cat-faced' or you may see a few more berries that are a little more green on the tips, but for the most part, they are still going to be good berries, just probably not what we would love to see."
One of the many ways to enjoy North Carolina strawberries is visiting the official North Carolina Strawberry Festival, which is now underway thru the weekend in Chadbourn. And all around town, there are indications on homes and businesses that residents are ready for the three days of festivities.
It looks like strawberries will be available until later than normal in June. But if you can't make it to the Festival this weekend, there is a directory of pick your own farms available: www.ncstrawberry.com/growers.cfm
The strawberry festival in Chadbourn is the oldest agricultural festival in North Carolina. Next week, the Carolina Strawberry Festival will be held in Wallace.
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