Our New Strawberry Blog

Welcome to the new North Carolina Strawberry Blog, bringing news, thoughts, perspectives, ideas, and miscellaneous information about strawberries.  I’ve been planning to write this for months, with sentences tumbling around in my brain, eager to get out — I like to write, and I welcome the opportunity to write about strawberries. (We’ll have some “guest bloggers” as well.)

I bring several prespectives to this blog: I’ve been Executive Secretary of the North Carolina Strawberry Association since 1997. I raise strawberries myself on a home-garden scale. I am a mother of two boys, now away in college, who have been picking and enjoying strawberries since they were toddlers, and I firmly believe in getting kids out onto farms and introducing them to the pleasures of good, healthy food. And I love to eat strawberries, especially fresh picked ones. Right now, my own plants are covered with flowers and have lots of green fruit of all different sizes. It won’t be long!

These are strawberry flowers in my garden this morning.

This is looking like a good year for strawberries here in North Carolina. Cold weather over the fall and winter slowed the plants down, so most farms are reporting that they are expecting to open a week or two later than usual. Some farms are now open, and others will open next week, and by the end of April most North Carolina farms will be wide-open. All this sunny weather we are having right now (do I dare say “California weather”?) is perfect for building up sugars in the fruit.

Here’s a harvest forecast from to NCSU Strawberry Specialist Barclay Poling, “Berries are now getting ripe in the Sandhills and volume will increase significantly by late next week in the Coastal Plain and Sandhills.  Many farms in the Piedmont will not be ready until early May, and will hopefully have adequate picking for Mothers’ Day weekend (May 8-9).  I am anticipating peak volumes in second and third week of May when all areas will be picking, including the Mountains.”  

Each farm is different–they have different microclimates, and one field may ripen earlier than another just a few miles away. Some growers plant varieties that ripen earlier (usually “Sweet Charlie”) or encourage plants to bear fruit sooner by covering them during the winter.

The best way to find out if there are strawberries ready near you is to call the growers (or check their web page or Facebook page). Most farms post an answering machine message with picking conditions and days they are open. Our website’s “Strawberry Farm Locator” lists farms by county.

We’ll keep you posted!

These are strawberry flowers in my garden this morning.

Debby Wechsler

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5 responses to “Our New Strawberry Blog

  1. Debby: Village Creek Farm in Fort Barnwell (Between New Bern and Kinston on Hwy 55) is now open for picking…. call 252-229-3816 for availability.. Larry Ipock

  2. Debbie: Rock Creek Farm will begin picking by weekend. The berries are Chandler and sweet. We are located just off highway 18 twelve miles south of Morganton. Call 828-437-6218 or 828-448-2046 before coming. John Yancey

  3. thanks for the support.

  4. I’ve been looking all morning long about growing strawberries. I have a small garden with built up 4×8 beds. I’ve never grown strawberries, and want to ask your advice on a couple of issues. First, I from what I read on NC State’s website, you can plant strawberries between Nov.-Mar. Should I try planting now, or wait until spring? Will I have strawberries to harvest this season if I plant now? And lastly, is there someone locally to buy plants from? I live in Smithfield, so locally would be somewhere within say 25 miles. I like to spend my money locally as much as possible. Would the farmers market be a good source? Thanks for your time.

    Mark Kingsley

    • Hi, Mark,
      Sorry, I didn’t see your comment earlier. I have lots of opinions and ideas about raising strawberries in a home garden, as I’ve raised them bothby the older “matted row” and in a home-garden version of the plasticulture that most commercial growers use. I’m not sure about writing all that here. Why don’t you email or call the NC Strawberry Association office (you can find the info on our website, http://www.ncstrawberry.com) and we can talk!

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