Strawberry season in East Tennessee off to surprisingly early st

Strawberry season in East Tennessee off to surprisingly early start

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Strawberry season has kicked off with more produce than ever before. Strawberry season has kicked off with more produce than ever before.
MARYVILLE (WATE) - By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - The warm weather we've had recently has done wonders for this year's strawberry crops, but there are worries about rain and cooler weather heading our way.

We caught up with the owners of Rutherford Farms and learned some berries have already gone bad because most people aren't aware the season has started.

The sun is out, the green on the strawberries is quickly fading to red, this year's timing is perfect.

"It is the heaviest early picking I've seen," said Steve Rutherford of Rutherford Farms.

To put that in perspective on the two and a half acres of strawberries, nearly 2,300 gallons of berries were sold last week which is 1,000 more than expected.

So far it's been a surprising season thanks to mother nature.

"Temperatures will really bring strawberries on. Your first berries may take up to 6 weeks to ripen, as you get towards the end of the season it may take a week at most and that's temperature driven," added Rutherford.

Looking ahead though there are concerns about rain and colder weather because too much water can make strawberries less sweet. But there are advantages to cooler temps.

"If you have temperatures that are running between 45-50 at night up to 65-70 during the day, they'll put on more bloom crowns. So if it were to stay below 72-75 my season may go on 10 weeks as opposed to 7 or 8 weeks," said Rutherford.

Fans of this fruit are hoping this season lasts long into the summer.

"Just take them out whenever I want and have strawberry shortcake, pie, or whatever," said Patsy Meyer who was picking berries Monday afternoon.

When it comes to crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage Rutherford Farms tells us they had to wait longer than usual in March to plant because of all the cold weather we had in East Tennessee.
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