Category Archives: Strawberries

Strawberry season is coming for 2013 – some first harvest estimates

image from vielmetti.typepad.comStrawberry season is on its way. Here's some first estimates of picking times, based on email or postings from local U-Pick strawberry farms.

Rawsonville: Rowe's Produce Farm has an active Facebook page, and doesn't yet have details of when first harvest will be. Their strawberries survived earlier frost scares. No U-Pick raspberries this year.  UPDATE: Rowe's will open for the season on June 8, berries $1.78 per pound.

Ida: Whittaker's Berry Farm (also on Facebook) is estimating first picking to start between June 10 and June 15, and notes that an average season is 18 days long. UPDATE: Whittaker's will open for the season on June 8. The price is $1.42/lb.

Gregory: Degroot's Strawberries (also on Facebook) predicts an opening day the second week of June. 

I'll update this post as the season gets closer.


Michigan strawberries are early in 2012

image from vielmetti.typepad.comThe early reports from strawberry growers that send out periodic newsletters to their perennial customers is that Michigan strawberries will be early this year. If you normally plan to pick on Father's Day, you may be too late for the crop.

None of the places I track are yet announcing opening dates for picking, but I'll share those when I have them; it's looking more like Memorial Day as the beginning of the season, with peak picking dates typically 7-10 days after the first opening day.

Some likely opening dates:

Whittaker's Berry Farm, Ida MI:  May 28th.

The 2012 Strawberry Season has arrived!  We will be open for the season TOMORROW, MAY 28TH, 8:00am-8:00pm.  The berries we are picking Monday are called Honeoye, they are very deep red in color, and have a DELICIOUS flavor!

Rowe's Produce Farm, Belleville MI: May 28th.


Strawberry season, 2011 report

I went strawberry picking with my boys on Father's Day at Rowe's in Rawsonville. We picked two full trays of berries in what seemed like no time flat. The sun was not too hot, and the berries were not too ripe, and I think we nailed the right day to pick pretty much perfectly.

The challenge now is what to do with all of those berries. Some have been frozen, others are under sugar and hopefully will end up as sorbet, and still more get stored in the bellies of friends.

The boys are at the age where they are quick at berry picking and accurate enough not to pick bad berries. They are capable of picking more than they can eat. I'm looking forward to more berrypicking with them!

Michigan 2011 U-Pick strawberry season

Strawberry-culturist Here's collected reports from the places that I'm on mailing lists for U-Pick strawberry season for 2011 near Ann Arbor. Comments welcomed.  The June 2011 "strawberry moon" (full moon) is June 15.

Whitaker's Berry Farm in Ida, MI (about 30 miles S of Ann Arbor.) opens Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. U-Pick $1.30/#, $3.25/qt prepicked.  "Those wanting real large amounts for canning and freezing, may wish to wait until closer to June 15th, which is when peak season should begin."

Rowe's Produce Farm in Rawsonville, MI (about 10 miles E of Ann Arbor) is opening on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 7:00 a.m. U-Pick $1.57/#. Call for picking conditions 734-482-8538 as they may have to close Friday for more ripening.

DeGroot's Strawberries in Gregory, MI (about 45 miles NW of Ann Arbor) said "mid June" on its Facebook page about 3 weeks ago.

Gibb's Berry Farm in Eaton Rapids (about 60 miles WNW of Ann Arbor) is bringing strawberries to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Price was $4.25 /quart on the first week of June, often prices change during the season and dip during peak times when produce is more plentiful.

I'm looking forward to a Father's Day berrypicking trip, which should be about right. My notes from the 2008 strawberry season reminded me to bring more water while picking; the 2007 strawberry season notes an early use of Twitter to coordinate berrypicking.

The image is from The Illustrated Strawberry Culturist (Fuller, 1887).

Michigan 2009 strawberry season delayed by cold weather

Here's some reports from around the state of the strawberry crop.  (We're planning a trip to Rowe's in Rawsonville for Father's Day).

From the Detroit Free Press via FreshPlaza:

At DeGroot's Strawberries in Gregory, 16 acres of lush plants are close to ripening.

not too hot and could be a little warmer," says Marsha DeGroot, who
with her family has owned the Livingston County farm since 1978. "But
the lovely winter with lots of snow made for a nice insulating blanket
for the plants."

Pick-your-own strawberries will be $1.20 a
pound at DeGroot's this year. Whittaker's strawberries sell for $1.25 a
pound. And at Rowe's Produce Farm in Ypsilanti, the cost is $1.46 per
pound, up 3 cents from last year.

From again via FreshPlaza on the season in mid-Michigan:

Geri R. Hingston and her husband, James H. Hingston, own Hingstons
Country, 18670 Dice in Merrill, a 4-acre you-pick farm with
strawberries and other produce.

Customers usually begin
harvesting the fruit about June 14, but she said she probably will
delay by five or more days because of cooler weather, frost warnings
and bees not coming out to pollinate.

A June 8 story in the Marquette Mining Journal (via the Escanaba Press) about UP strawberries:

"There were also a few days where overnight lows dropped close to
the freezing mark at the Delta County Airport, however, it is possible
inland areas did drop to or below freezing," said Fleegel.

A call by the Daily Press to Victor Ledvina, owner of Ledvina's Strawberry Farm in Flat Rock was unsuccessful.

There was also no indication of when picking would begin at Ledvina's Strawberry Farm.

Pellegrini, operator of Pellegrini's Strawberry Farm said they had been
irrigating five out of the past eight nights to prevent the fragile
blossoms from frosting over.

The full moon in June is called the strawberry moon; it was on June 7.

Michigan u-pick strawberry season opens June 3, 2009 in Rawsonville, MI

We haven't scheduled our visit yet to Rowe's Produce Farm in Rawsonville, MI, but as a public service you should know that they are open.  From the mailing they sent out:


The first day of the 2009 strawberry season will be Wednesday June 3rd.

As usual, when we first open not all of our varieties of berries are 
ready to pick. If you are looking to pick massive amounts to freeze or
make jam it would be better to wait until they are more plentiful. With
the cool temperatures predicted the berries may not ripen that quickly.
It is advisable to call the farm before you come out to make sure we
are not closed to let them ripen up.

The price of the berries is $1.46 per pound and we furnish the
containers for free.

We are open 7 am to 8 pm daily (weather permitting).

How did I find out about this, you ask?  "The List"

We at Rowes have been compiling lists of customer
addresses over the years and been sending postcards to our customers
when the strawberry and raspberry seasons are at their peak. Our
strawberry list has over 12,000 addresses and the raspberry list has
over 4,500. Due to rising costs of printing and postage we are no
longer taking addresses for our lists. Instead we have started an email
list. You can sign up for "The List" by sending us an email via the Contact Us
page. Once you send us an email the email address you send from will be
added to our new list. This way instead of getting one notice we are
able to send updated information on picking conditions more often,
better serving our customers. If you are on the "old" postcard list it
would be appreciated if you would sign up for the email list and tell
us your street address so we can remove it from the old list.

12000 strawberry pickers!  wow.  you should get on The List if you want more updates.  I didn't see any current info on their web site (other than "get on The List").

making fruit liqueurs, (or) how to prepare for the holidays well in advance

It’s fruit season (or nearly so) and so it’s time to start thinking about what we’re going to do for making holiday gifts. One staple in our house is a simple fruit liqueur of some sort, which turns sugar + fruit + vodka + time into something yummy.

We are not generally a cocktails household, so part of the corresponding challenge is giving people some sense of what do to with the jar to help them enjoy it.

Some minimal collection of things to help for this year, one fruit at a time; not exhaustive, but maybe it will help jump start next year. Ordered in rough order of appearance of the fruit here.

  • Strawberry liqueur. Irene’s Strawberry liqueur from The Cottage Smallholder; noting that “There‚Äôs nothing like the distraction of homemade grog when times are getting tough.”
  • Juneberry liqueur. Saskatoons go with gin, says contributor “prairiemaid” from Manitoba.
  • Gooseberry liqueur. In the 1930s, Meltis of Bedford introduced a gooseberry liqueur sweet to the UK market which was a big success, so they say. Read Anton Chekov’s Gooseberries. I don’t have a recipe.
  • Currants. Make cassis; here’s a cassis recipe, from ” The Cook and the Gardener” by Amanda Hesser, A Year of Recipes and Writings from the French Countryside.
  • Blueberries. Freeze the berries first, then make blueberry liqueur.. Ex-Michigander Culinaria Eugenius has a photo of the red-purple liquid that results.

Enough for now.