News & Views:  Strawberries (Coming Soon) 

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strawberry field looking goodgreen strawberry The strawberry patch is looking good. It is full of green strawberries, some as big as a thumbnail. I can even think I see a little pink in a few of them. The first week of June still seems the most likely time when we first open u-pick.

Strawberry flower April  21, 2017Strawberry flowering April 21, 2017 I saw the first strawberry flowers in the field today. We get a ripe strawberry in about 4 weeks, but it will be a bit longer before there are many. I’d expect u-pick to open the first week of June, or maybe a little earlier.

Today in Princeton we will have plenty of berries. There’s a good supply or red raspberries, black raspberries and blueberries. We will also bring what might be the last of the strawberries. For veggies, we have chard, kale, zucchini (green and yellow varieties), cilantro, turnips, and garlic scapes. Market opens at 3:00.

Blueberries and strawberries will be our featured products in Princeton on Saturday. We also hope to bring our first few black and red raspberries of the season. We will have plenty of zucchini and turnips. We also have green garlic and cilantro. Plow Creek Bakery will provide their usual excellent selection of baked goods. Market runs from 8:30 until 1:00.

This is our second week of Strawberry U-Pick. Yield and berry size is declining but quality remains good. An early morning field survey Wednesday showed better conditions than we had expected. As of mid-morning, it looked like the field would not be entirely picked over Wednesday. Thursday’s Strawberry U-Pick will be staffed in the morning (with some good to moderate picking available) and then go to self-serve in the afternoon and evening. Check the website late morning Thursday for an updated field report.

On Saturday, we will probably pick most of the field for another good market supply, but may be open for afternoon strawberry self-serve. Based on good plant vigor and berry quality in Flavorfest and pockets of Jewel, we are anticipating a fairly long self-serve season. This can be a peaceful time to pick, so keep the strawberries on your radar for next week too.

A tough morning! One of our staff got sick, and the cattle got out. This left few people for harvest for market. We will have some strawberries and blueberries in Princeton today, but expect to sell out early. Market opens at 3:00.

Saturday, at Princeton Farmers’ Market, we plan to bring plenty of strawberries. We’ll also have the first few blueberries, plus green garlic, garlic chives and stinging nettle. Plow Creek Bakery also has a good variety of baked goods. Market opens at 8:30 and officially runs until 1:00, but we might sell out earlier.

We are open for Strawberry U-Pick Friday morning, but expect only a moderate supply. We are picking a number of orders and have set an aggressive U-Pick schedule to guard against losing berries in extreme heat. Berries ripen daily in this heat, but this year have been picked as fast as they ripen.

Yield per row has been better than 2014 or 2015. But with a smaller field this year, the best picking has gone to those who arrive early. If you are making a long drive, it would be better to come Saturday evening or Monday morning. With the extreme heat, we do expect a somewhat better supply in those sessions, particularly on Monday.

Friday afternoon update: we did not have a severe shortage Friday, but the field was mostly picked over by 9am. For Saturday morning, we expect to have plenty of strawberries at the Princeton market and 50% to 75% of our usual Saturday morning U-Pick supply. It may be that with the heat discouraging some visitors, this is just the right amount.

I’ll be at Princeton Farmers’ Market today with strawberries, rhubarb, green garlic, lambsquarter, garlic chives, mint, and honey. Market runs from 3:30 to 5:30.

The strawberries are putting on a good show on this Festival Day. We have a a nice supply for sale at both the Princeton market and at Strawberry Festival in Tiskilwa. We’ve had some scattered rain this morning, but the current hourly forecast looks clear into early afternoon.

U-Pick opened at 9am, with good picking for the next 5 to 8 customers and slow to moderate picking expected in our Jewel and Cabot varieties through most of the morning. So come enjoy the festival and pick a few quarts of early U-Pick berries while you’re here.

Strawberry u-pick will open Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. As it is the first day, we expect quantities to be limited. Come for some great fresh berries, but it’s not yet time to fill your freezer or make a lot of jam. We expect larger quantities next week.

Saturday is Strawberry Festival in Tiskilwa. We will have our famous strawberry shortcake, plus fresh strawberries (and other produce) for sale. This year it is again combined with an arts fair, where you can view and purchase the works of our fine local artists. The festival is on Main Street in front of the Historical Society and runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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