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Strawberry Season Comes To A Halt

ANOKA (WCCO) -- If you were hoping to get out and pick some Minnesota strawberries this year. you may be out of luck. This year's season was very short-lived.

Cliff Rowe is still picking and eating fresh Twin Cities grown strawberries, but that is because he is finding a few red survivors among his 6 and a half acre patch on Berry Hill Farm in Anoka. He is also counting his blessings.

"We're very thankful for the season," said Rowe. "It was probably one of our best fruit sets ever. We had lots of people out here and they (harvested) lots of fruit and they got it quick."

Quick because the bounty was heavy, even if Mother nature did act up. Rowe said we may now need to drive as far north has Hinckley to find strawberry farms with a crop still in its prime.

"It definitely was a different kind of season," he said. "We had a cold spring that made everything late."

Then the heat struck causing fruit to ripen quickly.

With the 100 degree temperatures, the late berries never got a chance to grow big. The big berries basically cooked in the heat, becoming soft. Instead of a 4-week picking season, Rowe said customers could enjoy self-picking picking on their farm for only 2 weeks.

Now, Rowe's acres of strawberries are being mowed and groomed, allowing the plants to recover for next season. A closed sign is posted at the entrance.

Rowe is now turning his attention to the 30 acres of Pumpkin vines already in bloom.

To find Minnesota berry farms that still have strawberries to pick, and other home grown produce, click here.

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