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What you need to know for 10/17/2017

Pick-your-own strawberry patches ready

Pick-your-own strawberry patches ready

The wait was a bit longer than usual, thanks to a winter that just wouldn’t let up, but now the swee
Pick-your-own strawberry patches ready
Lauren Rabideau picks strawberries on Thursday morning for the Horstman Farm located on Route 50 in Scotia.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Finally, strawberry season is here.

The wait was a bit longer than usual, thanks to a winter that just wouldn’t let up, but now the sweet, red fruit can be found, close to the ground, tucked between jagged-edged leaves.

At Bowman Orchards in Rexford, picking season started Thursday, about two weeks later than expected.

Due to the late start, the season will likely extend until around the Fourth of July, said owner Kevin Bowman.

Opening day at Bowman’s wasn’t postponed despite light rain, but customers are encouraged to visit on dry days, because when berries are picked wet they get moldy quickly, Bowman said.

Bowman Orchards has about six acres of strawberries and all but one field fared well during the harsh winter, Bowman said.

The fields will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

‘good as ever’

Today is opening day for the pick-your-own strawberry patch at Hand Melon Farm in Greenwich. Picking is starting about a week later than usual, said owner John Hand, who grows 51⁄2 acres of the berries.

“But we’ve had really nice growing conditions all spring. The crop here looks as good as it ever has,” he said.

Hand has been adding later-ripening strawberry varieties to his berry patch in an effort to extend the season. He said patrons will likely be allowed in the fields well into the first week of July, which will leave plenty of picking days for families after school’s out for the summer.

The fields will be most bountiful between June 20 and 30, he predicted.

His advice to strawberry pickers: Avoid Mondays.

“If we have a busy Saturday and Sunday, Monday can be a little thin,” he explained.

Strawberries can be picked at the farm from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Once strawberry season winds down, blueberries will be ready for picking at Hand Melon Farm and in the fall, patrons can return to pick raspberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and winter squash.

At Buhrmaster Farms in Glenville, patrons were invited to take to the strawberry fields for the first time Friday at 7 a.m.

James Buhrmaster, whose father, Keith, owns the farm, said it’s shaping up to be a great season.

“It’s going to be better [than last year] since we haven’t had a ridiculous amount of rain,” he said, noting that more strawberry plants were put in the ground for this season.

Berry lovers can pick strawberries at Buhrmaster Farms daily from 7 a.m. until 2 or 3 p.m., depending on the weather and how the crop holds out.

It’s not definite yet, but pick-your-own blueberries could be offered for the first time this year at Buhrmaster’s field at the corner of Worden and Swaggertown roads. If all goes well, the berries will be ready for picking in late June or early July, Buhrmaster said.

Strawberry picking is anticipated to start Friday at Ariel’s Farm in Gansevoort, according to a message on the farm’s answering machine.

Cashin’s Farm’s Facebook page says the Fultonville farm will open for strawberry picking at 8 a.m. Sunday.

At Horstman Farm in Glenville, figures could be seen picking berries in the fields Thursday. Farm representatives could not be reached for details on pick-your-own berry dates.

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