Gwen Fowler



It's time to pick strawberries

Posted 4/18/2012 10:36:00 AM

Strawberry-picking time arrived early this year, thanks to our mild winter.

But don’t wait too long to go pick. At some farms, that early arrival of the season may also mean it is over sooner.

Strawberries were ripe about three weeks earlier than usual at Hardy Berry Farm in Anderson. But that also means farmer Kevin Hardy, who owns the farm with his wife, Stacy, is worried his strawberries won’t last through what is traditionally his biggest sales weekend, he said.

“We always want to make it through Mother’s day, but it looks like we won’t make it this year,” he said. Mother’s Day is May 13.

A hot spell in his area around the beginning of April accelerated the ripening of the berries, and Hardy had to run sprinklers to cool down the plants.

His you-pick fields opened to the public March 29. He sells from 20 tons to 25 tons of strawberries each season, with about half of those being picked by his customers.

Hardy said his blueberries might also be early this season. The Hardys also grow blackberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, muscadines and scuppernongs.

You can go here to find the S.C. Department of Agriculture’s list of certified roadside markets in South Carolina and here for a list of strawberry recipes.