Warm weather means early strawberries, blueberries

Strawberries started around May 18 for some farms, while first blueberries expected around June 15

B.C. strawberry growers are enjoying a very early crop and blueberry farmers are about to join them.

A very mild winter and a warm, dry spring has been ideal for growing quality blueberries much sooner than usual, says Jason Smith, an Abbotsford blueberry farmer and chair of the B.C. Blueberry Council.

“I’ve heard that some growers may start around the 15th of June in the eastern part of the Valley,” Smith said.

He expects many blueberry farms will be producing by about June 20-25 – well ahead of the typical start of the season between the end of June and July 5.

Smith said there’s some risk the season could end earlier than normal as well if the weather stays mostly dry.

“If I could control the weather I would love to see a good strong inch of rain now, a good strong inch of rain in one week and then good, warm, dry weather around 25 to 27 degrees.”

Some strawberry farms began selling around May 18.

Richmond strawberry farmer Bill Zylmans said he can’t remember his family ever harvesting this early since they started growing in 1952.

“We didn’t have a winter, so the plants didn’t go dormant,” he said.

– with files from Matt Hoekstra

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