Rainy Weather Puts Tennessee's Promising Strawberry Crop on Hold
NASHVILLE – Hopes remain high for Tennessee’s famous strawberry crop, but cool wet weather has postponed the start date for the state’s strawberry season, temporarily.
Strawberries require consistent warm sunshine to ripen and sweeten, and in Tennessee, it is not unusual for some farmers to have ripe berries by mid-April. This year, however, a brief burst of sun and high temperatures was quickly replaced with persistent rains. Middle Tennessee growers will have some berries by the end of the month, but yields will be light until the first week of May.
“Tennessee’s climate and geography guarantee that berry picking time will always be a moving target,” says Tammy Algood, produce marketing specialist for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. “There’s often a month’s variation between strawberry patches in the West Tennessee delta compared to Upper East Tennessee’s mountains, even without dramatic weather events like floods or freezes.”
“The trick is to be ready whenever the strawberries closest in your area are ready,” says Algood. “Know where you’re going to get your strawberries, whether you’ll buy them picked or whether you’ll pick them yourself, and have all your supplies on hand to preserve or use your strawberries when you bring them home.”
The free Pick Tennessee mobile app lists local strawberry growers and farmers markets that sell local strawberries. The app also provides GPS mapping to those farms and markets from the user’s current location. The listings are also available, along with strawberry recipes and tips for strawberry picking and storage at www.picktnproducts.org.
Pick Tennessee Products will host “Strawberry School” media days on Friday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 28. Tammy Algood, Pick Tennessee Products spokesperson and renowned food specialist, will conduct “Strawberry School,” demonstrating proper strawberry picking, care, storage and preservation techniques. Participating media can also interview farmers and area officials in attendance, tour the farm, and receive information about Tennessee’s strawberry crop.
MEDIA ADVISORY: Pick Tennessee Products Strawberry School Media Days
Who: All media are invited. Local officials are also encouraged to attend.
Time: Media day activities begin at 9 a.m. local time.
Friday, April 24
Wagner Berry Farm
John and Martha Wagner, 931-486-0337
4923 Ollie Chunn Road, Spring Hill, TN 37174 (Maury County)
Tuesday, April 28
Falcon Ridge Farm
Ray or Bart Gilmer, 731-658-5200
22630 Hwy 18 North, Toone, TN 38381 (Hardeman County)