Weather impacts strawberry crop

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Suzee Bochantin, left, and Kathy Akerley pick strawberries at Gladstone Berry Farm Thursday.

ESCANABA — Strawberry-picking season has begun in Delta County, but local strawberry farmers said low temperatures this winter and spring have had an impact on their farms.

Pellegrini Farm, located west of Escanaba, opened for the strawberry season Thursday. Customers at the farm are able to pick their own berries, but pre-picked strawberries are not being offered in 2019.

Owner David Pellegrini said he expects the farm to remain open for roughly two weeks this summer.

“We’re just waiting and seeing how long it’s going to last,” he said.

Typically, the farm is open for two to three weeks.

Pellegrini Farm opened for strawberry picking later than normal this year — on average, it opens in late June. Pellegrini said this was largely the result of unseasonably cool weather.

In the spring, local strawberry farms did not receive enough heat units early on for their berries to ripen when they normally would have. Strawberry growth was also affected by bitterly cold temperatures before significant snowfall arrived during the winter of 2018-19, Pellegrini said.

However, Pellegrini noted his farm’s strawberry crop is in decent shape.

“Things are looking all right,” he said.

Gladstone Berry Farm opened for the season on July 4. As was the case for Pellegrini Farm, Gladstone Berry Farm’s opening was delayed as a result of weather in the area.

“We started about 10 days later than normal, but everything’s going really good right now,” co-owner Mike Grzybowski said.

He also said berries at the farm have been average to above-average this year.

Grzybowski owns Gladstone Berry Farm along with his wife, Stephanie Grzybowski. The farm is now in its fourth year of being owned by the Grzybowski family.

So far, the summer of 2019 has been the farm’s most successful yet since the Grzybowskis took over in terms of turnout.

“It’s been … (the) biggest crowds that we’ve had,” Grzybowski said.

Grzybowski’s farm is likely to remain open for strawberry picking for at least another week to 10 days.