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Extreme heat took toll on Norfolk’s strawberry crop

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Local farmers have had a tough go of it this season.

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Many face challenges of getting enough workers and now extreme dry heat is impacting some crops.

Wholesome Pickins in Delhi is one of the Norfolk farms whose strawberry season is shorter than expected.

“We found our June varieties moved a little bit faster than we would have liked,” said owner Jennifer VanDeVelde. “They ripened quite quickly in the field so it was a little bit of a challenge to get them out of the field in a timely manner.”

VanDeVelde added the ever-bearing strawberries have also been ripening quickly, but that will come in handy now that the June varieties are done.

“We did see some areas of overrun fruit that we just didn’t have enough hands to get to fast enough,” said VanDeVelde. “We’re looking at some losses in our June strawberries just due to the heat, we’re wrapping up a lot faster than we wanted to.”

Wholesome Pickins also grows raspberries, asparagus, rhubarb, and tobacco.

The rhubarb is still doing well thanks to constant irrigation, said VanDeVelde.

“With this dry heat, we’re kind of irrigating everything now, which I think a lot of people across our area are,” she said.

At Meadow Lynn Farms in Simcoe, the pick your own strawberries ended early due to the heat.

“The berry season has come crashing to a halt. The weather this weekend (July 4 and 5) has cooked them in the field. My pick-your-own field is finished Monday for the season. So sorry for such short notice,” said a post on the Judd’s Strawberries Facebook page. “It has been an adventure this year, thanks for coming out and giving us a wonderful season despite the pandemic.”

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