Strawberry season comes early to Ooltewah farm
In Tennessee, strawberry season is almost underway.
In Tennessee, strawberry season is almost underway as the threat for frost overnight drops to 10 percent. A farm in Ooltewah, though, started harvesting their strawberries early this year on April 21.
Just this morning, the one acre of twenty-seven beds and fifty-four rows had a light frost.
"We took a chance and didn't cover it, where we had just a light coating, and here it is the last day of April, and we're still worried about frost on the berries, and other crops too," farmer Bill Perry said.
A massive white cloth, 300 feet long and 60 feet wide is used to cover up the berries. The strawberries like rain, but not the 6 1/2 inches of rainfall, like what we've had over the past four weeks.
Bill Perry added, "it does make it tough on the crop to get an abundance of rain, especially on the low ends of the field."
Farmers Perry and Smith say before a rain, they try and pick as many ripe berries as possible. Both are hoping for a stretch of dry weather in May.
"Been a farmer all my life, and it's tough not wanting rain. I always want rain in the spring to get crops started and grass growing, but now, you know, it's a double edge sword," farmer Aubie Smith explained.
Smith says, even though it's their first year with berries, they know more sunshine will make for a sweeter fruit.
"We need a lot of sunshine, the more sunshine that we have, we understand the sweeter, they'll get," Smith added.
So far Smith-Perry Berries has produced 1,500 pounds of berries. If they get more dry weather and lots of sun, they'll be expecting close to another 1,500 by the end of the season. They hope the season will last through the first week of June.
Smith-Perry Berries will be open again on Wednesday starting at 9:00 am. If there is a chance for rain, the farmers say to bring your boots!
Have a weather-related story? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.