Strawberry season getting underway

A strawberry at Porter's Patch near Navarino, Monday, June 16, 2014. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

NAVARINO - The strawberry season in Northeast Wisconsin is just getting underway.

At Porter's Patch near Navarino, Strawberry lane is opening Tuesday. People can pick their own berries Wednesday.

“I've been doing some taste testing. You got to do that. They're sweet and juicy,” said Troy Porter, owner of Porter’s Patch.

Acres and acres of red berries. Troy Porter says the long spring limited frost damage to his strawberries.

“Once that critical moment with the buds or blossoms were out there. It was late in the season already so we didn't have cold nights. So this year I don't think we lost a single blossom due to freezing weather, which is great,” said Porter.

At Glendale Farms near Clintonville, the owners say this time of year people are usually in the fields by now picking strawberries. They say this season, that's simply not the case.

“We've got about four acres, three or four acres that are ready, close to ready now. Maybe toward the end of the week or so. And these here, probably need a week yet,” said Dale Kluth with Glendale Farms.

Kluth says it's been busy.

“The phone's been ringing a lot you know. Late season, a lot of pent up desire out there I guess. People, some of them keep track of that. They look at the calendar and say geez, we picked berries on the 8th last year, what's going on this year,” he said.

Kluth says the late winter didn't damage his crops, just pushed back the harvest.

“It's going to be a little later, and it's going to be worth the wait,” he said.

Troy Porter hopes mild temperatures will stretch the season.

“Typically you get two to three weeks out of it. But if you got a lot of warm weather, humid, the season goes fast and you could be done in 14 days, because everything is ripe, and it's done,” said Porter.

Wisconsin ranks tenth in the nation for strawberry production. Growers in the state produced about 3.5 million pounds of the berries last year, valued at almost $5.5 million.