Local strawberry crops peak just in time - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local strawberry crops peak just in time

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DAYTON, TN (WRCB) - Whether topping a short cake or dipped in chocolate, strawberries take center stage at the 68th Tennessee Strawberry Festival in Dayton. Tim Cruver and his wife, Eva, sell them at The General Store downtown. It's been a fruitful Friday.

"We got to the fields this morning at 6:30, got back here around 8 with the first load and it's been back and forth right out of the truck," says Tim. He's not complaining. It's great for business.

Nearby Tidwell Farms is the main supplier. Cruver says they should have enough to last a few more weeks, and the berries taste great!

The growing season started slowly because of too many rainy days and cool nights, but recent weather has turned things around. The berries have peaked later than usual, but not too late to ruin the fun.

"Rain's holding off as the weatherman said, last time I looked--hint, hint--but it's been a bumper crop. It really has," Tim adds.

Judy Gossett came from Trenton, Georgia, hoping to get the pick of the day.

"We looked at some of the arts and crafts and walked around," says Gossett. "Then we heard that they were selling out fast. So I decided  to come over here and stand in line."

Her patience paid off as the third load of strawberries arrived.

Dayton Chamber of Commerce president Jennifer Shoffner is pleased that the crop peaked just in time.  

"We usually have around 50,000 people that will attend this weekend," says Shoffner. "They do bring a lot of revenue, a lot to the community."

It's an important event for the city.  

"All that money will go back into the things that the Dayton Chamber of Commerce promotes and the things we do during the year," adds Shoffner.

Cruver is looking forward to a busy Saturday.

"I'll get up in the morning and do the same exact thing again," Cruver says with a chuckle.

Saturday is the last day of the festival, featuring a parade at 1 p.m. eastern time. Admission is free!
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