ROARING SPRING, BLAIR COUNTY - We love that first bite of a juicy strawberry, but a lot of work has to happen before you're enjoying the fruit in your home.
Although the weather has been a little wacky this spring, Mother Nature might have helped speed up the berry picking season.
Strawberry season means a lot of pies, jams, and jellies for Pat Frazier, but it also means…
“A lot of headaches, a lot of responsibilities, a lot of sleepless nights and long days,” Frazier said. He owns Lock Mountain Strawberries with his wife, Elaine.
Frazier, from Roaring Spring, has three acres of strawberry plants, and they're pretty much ready to be picked.
They're ripening seven to ten days early for us. It's unusually early. According to my records this will be our ninth picking season. The earliest we ever started was June 6th,” Frazier said.
This year Frazier will welcome pickers as soon as June 3rd, and Baronner's Farmer’s Market in Hollidaysburg won't start that much later.
“We are supposed to get some more humid temperatures, but our workforce which is mostly high school students won't be out of school until about the June 8th or 10th so that's when we anticipate starting,” Kelly Baronner said.
Getting those pickers hasn't been difficult for Baronner or Frazier.
“Mom’s and dad's pocketbooks are stretched as far as they can be, and the kids are going out to work which is great,” Baronner said.
It hasn't been all fun for the farmers.
“The hail two weeks ago this Friday hurt us badly with the first berries. We're going to lose a couple thousand quarts to hail,” Frazier said.
They're hoping and thinking Mother Nature is going to make up for that unexpected curveball.
“We were very lucky and very fortunate not to get hit with the hail. We were lucky to escape that, and we're anticipating to have an above average season this year,” Baronner said.
If you're interested in picking, both farmers said you can just call the market to sign up. You can also call other local farms to see if they need picking help.