Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Cool, wet spring delays Washington strawberry crop

minkcy chiu
Not ready for prime time: Western Washington farmers are experiencing one of the latest seasons for crops in recent memory. Strawberries may ripen at least two weeks later than normal.

A cool, wet spring has slowed strawberries and other crops in parts of Washington.

One berry farmer, Randy Kraught of Barbie's Berries in Ferndale, told The Bellingham Herald the area needs sun soon to ripen strawberries and following crops of raspberries and blueberries.

Another farmer, Mike Boxx of Boxx Berry Farms in Whatcom County, said they normally would be harvesting some strawberries now, but it will be at least another two weeks before they are ripe this year.

"This is definitely a year for the record books," said Boxx. He said they would normally be harvesting strawberries these days, but instead the berries are still green. "We believe we'll start getting a few ripe strawberries between June 15 and June 20."


Ain't that just the berries?

Other farmers are feeling the impact of the cold, damp spring: dairy and seed potato farmers. Because many western Washington dairy farmers haven't been able cut grass or silage, which means they may be forced to pay for livestock feed, which can be triple the cost of cutting their own grass.

Sunny weather will be important in the next few weeks because this is typically peak bee pollination time.

But the weather doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon. The National Weather Service says western Washington can expect to see showers six of the next seven days, with temperatures only in the upper-50s to 60 degrees.