Strawberry season late, but finally arrives for Langley farmers

A cold winter and spring slowed ripening of the berries, but they’re not ready for picking.

One of Langley’s major crops is ripening on the vine this week, and bringing berry lovers by the vehicle load to Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery.

Forty-five of the farm’s 200-acre are covered by ripening strawberries, and with several varieties in the fields, their growing and harvesting season – which may have started a little later than normal – should extend will into September, said Alf Krause.

”Mother Nature is always challenging the farmers,” he said. “With this cold winter and spring, [the berries] are behind schedule.”

“It’s been a very cold spring,” he added, but “the good news is that the crops are now ripe and ready from the market or u-pick.”

The farm announced earlier this week that the u-pick berry sales finally started on Wednesday.

One thing Lower Mainland residents can rely on every year is that, sooner or later, Mother Nature will give the gift of delicious homegrown strawberries. In fact, the arrival of the fruit, has become an unofficial start to summer.

Krauses weren’t the only one’s trumpeting the arrival of these berries.

The BC Strawberry Growers Association wanted to hail the opening of the season, saying the “luscious, ruby-red, and bursting with flavour, the debut of the B.C. strawberry crop means that we can once again enjoy one of our greatest natural offerings.”

The local moderate climate and rich soil gives this province’s strawberry farms an unprecedented advantage in berry cultivation.

“That means that local consumers can enjoy one of the most prized natural berry crops in the world. And, because B.C. strawberries can go from farm to table in a matter of hours, their value in quality, flavour, and freshness are often unsurpassed,” the association said.

There are hundreds of different ways to enjoy the berries, and the organization offers some ideas at www.bcstrawberries.com.