Corn, melon and cucumber crops also impacted by gloomy spring
BARRINGTON, R.I. (WPRI) — It was a cloudy and cool spring for strawberry plants, but the weather changed just in time to get the crop back on track.
“Very much so, very much so…no sun and lots of rain….Overcast conditions and cool temperatures,” Chris Clegg said while looking back on the spring weather.
Both April and May were 12-to-15% cloudier than normal, which kept things cool, and some crops, including strawberries, were affected.
“Strawberries being a sun-loving and heat-loving plant, brought great concern as to when they would mature and ripen,” Clegg, a fifth-generation farmer at Four Town Farm added.
There are four different strawberry fields here at Four Town and six different varieties of the berries.
Once June hit, the skies brightened and the strawberry plants responded. The typical first day of picking is June 7. This year, they were only a couple days late.
“To only be two days off of where we should have been was very surprising to me. A month ago I would have said we’d be seven days to 10 days off,” Clegg said.
Clegg also said the quality of the berries has been very good.
Recent rains have allowed the berries to get pretty big.
Despite the sweet strawberry rebound, the dismal spring is still impacting some of the crops. The cucumber, melon and especially the corn crops have taken a hit.
“I would say that’s the epitome of delay for us at this point, the crop being delayed because corn is a warm-season crop,” Clegg said as he pointed to a corn field. “It likes a lot of sun, likes a lot of field heat, neither of which we had when we seeded that in mid-April.”
While only 2-to-3 feet tall now, this sweet corn should be another 1 to 2 feet taller at this point, according to Clegg.
“The normal first pick of corn is July 7, we’d be lucky by the 14th,” Clegg said.
Four Town Farm is selling pre-picked strawberries at their farm stand, but plans to open for Pick Your Own on Friday.
The strawberry season usually lasts until just before July 4 at Four Town.