Strawberry season is in full swing and producers at McLean Berry Farm in Buckhorn, Ont., said this is one of their best years yet.
“We’ve had a very good year,” said farm manager, Erin McLean. “There were a lot of farms in Ontario that struggled with frost and had some loss, but my brother didn’t get sleep for a few nights and was able to save our crop from damage.”
McLean said some of the more moderate temperatures we had near the end of June has also made for good berry conditions.
“They don’t like it when it gets really hot, they all try to ripen at once,” she said. “Berry season is typically two to four weeks. We are about a week in now so it is really the prime this is the best picking, this is when it is going to be the easiest and the fastest and the best berries.”
She said the public is taking full advantage, with people eager to visit the farm.
“People are so excited to get out, be able to come and pick in a distanced row, get some fresh air and of course get strawberries to take home and enjoy,” said McLean.
This year, due to Covid-19 McLean said you can’t taste test while your picking and you have to keep your distance in the fields. She said while they have had to adjust some operations during the pandemic, she has also noticed a renewed interested in berry picking.
“I think there are people who just have a little more time, so they can get out with their families and enjoy,” said McLean. “People are really taking a renewed interest in cooking and preserving so they have a reason to pick more berries because they have something to do with them when they get home.”
And when it comes to picking tips, McLean said to avoid grabbing the berry.
“You really don’t actually want to be touching the berry, she said. “You want to be pulling it from behind otherwise you can often bruise it because they are so delicate.”
Otherwise she said to just have fun and enjoy the experience.
“We had some newborns who were out and about doing their picking and then last week we actually had someone who was 96 out to do some picking so it is enjoyable no matter what age you are.”