Early Start for NC's Strawberries


C. Willis. Strawberries from Hunt's farm, Wake County        Warm weather in North Carolina's triangle has brought out early flowers, notably in strawberries.

        "We started seeing blooms back in January," said Roger Ball, of Ball's Produce Farm on Rock Service Station Road in Raleigh.

        Ball said that he has never seen his plants perform like this, in 10 years of cultivation.

        "They're liking these 50-, 60-degree nights, these 70-degree days. It's strawberry weather," he said. "We're thinking by the 10th of April we'll be selling strawberries, maybe by the 5th."

        Ordinarily Ball would start sales by late April. The early start is good news for growers who have been hit by the poor state of the economy  and high gas prices, over the past few years.

        "It feels good. We need money coming in, the earlier the better," Ball said, adding that he isn't sure how long or bountiful the season will be. "We don't know what to expect. We've not experienced a year like this."

Source: www.wral.com