By Clint Thompson
The president of the North Carolina Strawberry Association is excited about this year’s crop.
Jim Warenda, who is also the sales representative for Fresh Pick Produce in Kenly, North Carolina, exuded optimism when discussing the prospects of this year’s crop.
“Everything’s great. We are a hair behind, just due to, it’s been a little bit cooler spring than what we’re normally used to,” Warenda said. “A normal strawberry flower will ripen in about 30 days. They’re ripening at about 37, 38 right now.
“We’re probably a couple of days behind on some things. Overall, the crop looks good. We really haven’t hit any real big volume yet. We foresee that happening (this) week.”
He said the normal window for harvesting strawberries is April 20 through June 15.
Warenda is not alone in having hopes for this year’s strawberry crop in North Carolina. In a previous VSCNews story, Mark Hoffmann, North Carolina State small fruits Extension specialist, said he is expecting a “bumper crop” this year.
“If the weather holds up, it’s going to be one of the best strawberry years in a long time,” Hoffmann said.
While the crop appears bountiful, the strawberry market appears in good shape as well. This despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“We do some chain store business as well as roadside market stuff in the northeast. There has been a little bit of a decline in market, just because they’ve closed off some of these islands for this month. We haven’t really hit any volume yet, so everything’s been smooth so far. I don’t foresee any hiccups in the next couple of weeks. But this produce business can always change,” Warenda said.
For more information about strawberry production in North Carolina, see N.C. State strawberry website.