Local strawberry harvest wraps up 0
Strawberries have seen a good, but short season due to the hot and dry conditions
The strawberry season was a short one this year under hot, dry conditions.
Local grower Greg Makarchuk, whose farm is located just southeast of Portage la Prairie, reported his crop was ready sooner than usual. “It was a fairly quick season because of the heat,” he said. “The heat will make them want to ripen quicker. They will want to ripen faster rather than keep growing.”
Makarchuk noticed the strawberries were a little smaller in size than usual.
“We were still happy with the size of them,” he said. “The quality was nice, and the taste was still normal -- they were good tasting. But it was just too hot., which made the season go really fast.”
Usually at his farm, picking continues for about 2 1/2 weeks, but this year the picking season was over in about 11 days.
“I think the shortest season every was nine days , so it was a little longer than our shortest season,” he said, adding that the season was finished on July 10.
Overall, however, Makarchuk, who has about four acres of strawberries, was pleased with the results nonetheless.
“We were fairly happy with it still,” he said. “We were happy with the taste, and the size was still fairly good.”
With Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, Anthony Mintenko, provincial fruitcrop specialist, based out of Carman, pointed out some factors that had a role to play in the growing conditions for strawberry producers in Central Plains area this year.
“It was a short season for most of the Portage growers,” he said. “There was more winter injury than normal, probably in part due in part to the wet season we had before and the lack of snow cover. It was probably a below-average to average year.”
The expert agreed ripening occurred quickly for the crop. As a positive, he said there is plenty of demand for fresh strawberries in the area.
“There was no lack of customers that is for sure,” he said. “I think most guys sold out of what they had. They probably just wish they had another week’s worth of picking. In that sense, whatever they had they did sell out. So that was good.”
The MAFRI specialist also noted that the Central Plains area is known for it’s delicious strawberries that can’t be beat.
“There is nothing like it in the store,” Mintenko said.
In a market survey conducted by the Prairie Fruit Growers Association, respondents said taste and flavour was the number one reason people were buying Prairie fruit.
“Taste is kind,” said Mintenko.