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Get your berry-picking buckets ready for an early blueberry season in B.C.

VANCOUVER — Get your berry picking buckets ready.

That’s advice from Alf Krause of Krause Berry Farms in Langley. The Lower Mainland’s unseasonably warm winter – and spring – is translating into an early blueberry season. The crops were budding as early as February and farmers say the berries will be ready three weeks early this year.

“It’s the earliest season we’ve ever had since I’ve been farming,” said Krause. “We’re starting to panic in the sense of, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s going to come quick and we better be ready.’ ”

Blueberries bring a lot of cash to the province, with 800-plus growers harvesting 150 million pounds and selling them for $170 million.

According to Jason Smith of B.C. Blueberry Council, the early season means the berries might overlap with other fruit sales.

“The more overlap there is, the more fruit that there’s going to be out there on the market at the same time. It may impact growers,” Smith told Global News.

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Krause says, for his part, you have to “baby” the early berries, “and help it to cope with being ready sooner than its regular cycle.”

But he’s also optimistic about the early crop. “Our season is going to be beautiful – nothing more fun than picking berries when it’s sunny all the time.”

With files from Jennifer Palma.