COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – Strawberry season is here in Ohio. June is the best month for our climate and they’re ripening fast.
Walking through the strawberry fields at Catalpa Grove Farm in Columbiana, it’s easy to have a strawberry catch your eye, plus they taste good in your mouth. It’s important to get them early.
“They start out big, the very first berries are king berries, and then usually they’ll size down,” said Craig Mercer, with Catalpa Grove Farm.
The strawberry season is underway and Mercer believes it’s going to be a decent crop. There was more frost control than normal for these plants, which went in the ground around mid-August. They’ve had a good fruit set.
“Taste is good. The size might be a tad smaller. They seem to be sizing up here. I was a little concerned about it but it appears to be sizing up,” Mercer said.
Catalpa grows over five varieties of strawberries. It’s a good, early crop while waiting for the sweet corn, which will not be ready for another month.
“A lot of hot weather they ripen fast, the season’s over early. Get some cooler weather, slows them down, get a longer season,” Mercer said.
Looking at the plants, you see white blossoms — those will turn into the strawberry. First they become green, then about another week later they switch to red — that’s the best time to pick them.
“Obviously, the main thing is to pick them red. You see so many in the store with white tips. Obviously, you have a higher sugar content when they’re all red,” Mercer said.
Catalpa has about seven acres of strawberries. The farm grows them two different ways, but picking lasts from three to four weeks for each system. The berries that are for sale in the market are picked fresh each day.
Mercer grows strawberries and he’s just like us — a big fan of eating them.
“We eat a lot of strawberries. Strawberries with shortcake and ice cream,” he said.
The strawberry season runs fast. On Wednesday, Mercer was in the field planting pumpkins, thinking ahead to fall.