Area strawberry farm predicting good, normal season this year
MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW)-- Wisconsin berry farmers dealt with tricky weather patterns during the 2021 season. Some even lost a good portion of their crop. Staff at Engleberry Farm said things are blossoming in fairly good and normal conditions this year.
The co-owner of Engleberry Farm, Michael Matushak said so far this spring has been fairly normal compared to the last three to four years. He said he’s able to tell by the size of the king berries, or the first berries to blossom, which has a good chance to develop this time around.
“I think we’ve got a good blossom set, we had a good cycle this far... We had a few nights of frost, but nothing like we’ve had prior to this,” Matushak explained.
Last year, the farm pretty much broke even on the crop because of the difficult weather. And this year, the season did get off on a late start. However, the owners aren’t worried because the crop is catching up fast to where it needs to be and the owners couldn’t be happier with the weather patterns so far.
“This is more of a normal season, as far as I would like to say... [The weather is] so much of an important part of what it takes to any farmer has to do with growing something, you have to have some consistencies that make the plant-like what conditions it’s under, when they don’t like what they’re under, then it makes things tougher for them,” he said.
The only difficulty they had to manage so far, was timing. But, since it was a good setting spring, where the fruit is good starting from the king all the way down to the end, they’re expecting it to be a successful season and to be open by the week of June 20.
“Everything is going to still be based on weather, you know, you can get some conditions that will make it warmer, and then the fruit will develop faster and ripen quicker. Or it could go the other way, where if it’s a little bit cooler, then the plant slows up. And then the ripening cycles take a little bit longer. But the plant is just pretty good, it’s not a lot of peaks and valleys. So I think we’re on track to stay right around that 20th.”
However, one thing no one is immune from-- inflation.
“Right now, we don’t really know where we’re going to be but I’m sure we’re gonna have to go up [on price] because we have extremely high costs like everybody else is seen. So we always try to be as careful with that part of it as we can but, I mean, you still gotta make some money to make it so you can plant the next year and keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing.”
Despite inflation, he said there are a lot of blossoms for being this late into the blossom season. He said that means the fruit is there, however it may not all be pickable, but there will be a lot of fourth and fifth pickings during picking season.
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