Virginia berry growers still chilled from winter, spring
By JANE W. GRAHAM
(June 16, 2015) Advisors to small fruit producers across Virginia report the strawberry season has ended and other berries are ripening but the effects of cold weather continue.
The strawberry season on the very eastern end of Virginia near the North Carolina border has just ended, Gail Miltner, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services marketing specialist said. She noted this year’s crop has been small coming off about 60 acres in production.
Miltner said early blueberries are just beginning to ripen and the blackberry plants are full of berries.
On the other end of Southwest Virginia, Allen Straw, small crop Extension specialist at Virginia Tech’s Glade Spring Agricultural Research and Extension Center said the strawberry season is over there as well. He said it was a short season.
“The cold weather delayed them,” he said. “We didn’t pick a lot of berries.”
Looking at the blueberries, he said the season is going to be delayed a little bit and predicted there will not be a lot of them. He said the high bush blueberries are usually harvested the second and third week of June and he expects their yield to be relatively good. The rabbit eye blueberry usually begin ripening the, middle of July, he added.
Straw said blackberries were damaged by both the cold winter weather in far Southwest Virginia and by the cold spells that have come throughout the spring. He said there are a few raspberries but some cold damage can be expected.
In Somerset, Va., The Market at Grelen has started offering raspberries to pick your own customers.
The destination nursery offered an early picking one day beginning at 7 a.m.
Currently they are offering black raspberries through June and expecting to have red and yellow raspberries from June through September.
They already have early multiple kinds of blueberries and this is expected to continue through mid-July. Their blackberries will be offered from July through August.