Strawberries (And Pickers) Would Like A Dry Day

Growers report the strawberry crop looks beautiful across most of the state. But a break from the rain would do some good.

John Jolivette of Jolivette Family Farms in West Salem is looking at a ripe crop. It’s a bit earlier than normal. He says the only barrier to a successful season is the rain. He’s been getting a lot of inches.

“Two to three inches at a time every other day,” he describes. “They’ll rot if it keeps raining. If it keeps on raining, then people don’t come out and pick, and they’ll rot in the field.”

On the other side of the state in Mayville, it’s a similar story. Danielle Clark with Mayberry Farms says her 12 acres of strawberries are ahead of schedule but look great. Mayberry Farms does not have irrigation, so Clark says she doesn’t want to complain about the moisture. However, a surplus of rain leads to more management responsibilities.

“Those weeds are just loving all the moisture that they can get right now. They are keeping us very busy,” she says. “With the moisture comes disease… we are monitoring the fields… everything looks great now.”

Wisconsin fruit, including strawberries, runs into disease issues with a surplus of moisture and humidity. Extension Fruit Crop Specialist Leslie Holland says strawberry growers are in a unique situation: the rainfall can cause fruit to rot faster and discourage folks from coming out for U-Pick events.

“If this rain continues, it’s going to be pretty conducive to some of the fruit rot,” Holland says. “That’s the really challenging part of this weather we’re having… for any type of business and U-Picks. Hopefully, we can get those days that allow the fruit to dry off and also folks to come out and be able to pick them.”