VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A cooler spring isn’t stopping Virginia’s strawberry crops from ripening!
Virginia strawberry growers say 2018 is a return to normal compared to the last few years. The annual ripening is expected around May 1, reports the Virginia Department Of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Gail Moody Milteer, regional marketing manager and strawberry specialist at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, says the plants this year are some of the best she has ever seen.
Tom Baker of Brookdale Farm in Virginia Beach picked the first, almost-ripe berries April 8. He anticipates his farm will open daily around April 28 and says the crop on their farms looks really good.
Bettina Ring, Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, notes that Virginia has been growing strawberries a long time. In fact, the modern strawberry has Virginia in its name, Fragaria virginiana, one of two species of strawberry that was hybridized to create the modern domesticated garden strawberry.
“There’s nothing quite like a fresh, sun-ripened, juicy strawberry for eating out of hand, in salads, or with ice cream or yogurt,” she said. “I encourage strawberry lovers and health-conscious consumers to support their local producers and Virginia’s economy by purchasing fresh, Virginia grown strawberries from a nearby farm, farmers’ market, roadside stand or grocery store.”