Christina Williams

Early season for Langley strawberries

A little rain won’t be a bad thing for berry farmers right now.

Strawberries are for sale again in Langley, with warm weather bringing the season even earlier.

“We’re about a week ahead of last year, which was the earliest on record,” said Rhonda Driediger of Driediger Farms.

Driediger thought the early pick might yield about 100 flats of berries, but 500 flats have been picked so far.

Cooler weather arrived in mid-May, and a little rain, but in general the weather has been better than last year’s, said Driediger.

The weather was so dry in 2015 that it dessicated things, she said. The additional moisture this year has helped.

Berries are on sale at the farm’s market on 72nd Avenue, but U-pick is not yet open to the public, as those berries aren’t quite ready.

Weather remains unpredictable in farming, Driediger noted.

It was just seven years ago that the Lower Mainland had one of the coldest springs on record and strawberries didn’t ripen until the last few days of June.

“Every year we are prepared for everything,” she said.

The farm has invested in things like growing strawberries on plastic mulch, which helps keep them cleaner, and allows for better irrigation that uses less water.

Strawberries aren’t the only crops affected by the warm April and May.

“Blueberries, it’s going to be a record crop,” Driediger said.

The raspberries are also looking amazing this year, she said.





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