Strawberry picking season is underway and only for a limited time.
It's a labor of love for farmers as they watch their crops be picked over the two to three week strawberry season. Unfortunately, farmers are at the mercy of mother nature. This past weekend's storms severely damaged Wold Strawberries' crops and now they are trying to salvage the rest of the season.
Wold Strawberries near Mabel had one of their roughest starts to a season in just over forty-five years. They had to close early because of heavy weekend rain and another damaging weather phenomena. Wayne Wold, owner and operator of Wold Strawberries says, "This is the first time that we've been hailed out, so to speak. I've seen every other kind of weather. Four and five inch rains, but this time we had six and a half inches of rain and wind driven, dime size hail, which is about the worst thing you could have for hail." Wayne, still in good spirits, laughed while adding, "Now I've seen it all."
The hail severely damaged the crops and sliced through the strawberries like razor blades. Wayne added, "This is bad, like seventy-five percent of my crop is gone. It's like it had been mowing and chewing on it." The Wold's have weathered storms in the past, but none like this. Suzy Wold-Burkness, daughter of Wayne says, "2000 or 2001, we had about seven inches of rain. A lot of the berries sat in water and then they developed a diseases called leather rot and we lost the berries like that, but that was only in low lying places and seemed devastating at the time."
Wayne examined the nearly ten acres that were lost due to the flooding by saying, "It's pretty ugly."
MORE INFORMATION: Wold Strawberries
Storm damage to the crops will total a whopping fifty to $75,000 loss. Nonetheless, Wold's will remain open for business this season because some patches of strawberries did survive. Wayne said, "I got two patches that were a little bit on the border of the hail, so they got a little less damage and we're able to harvest some berries that way. Strictly pick your own."
Wold Strawberries will be open beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The next crop the Wold's and public are looking forward to are their raspberries. Those will be ripe and ready for picking in just a couple of weeks.