Local farmers begin to harvest crops

FREMONT, OH (Toledo News Now) – Local farmers have started to harvest strawberries, but farmers say they won't last all summer. The crops are likely to finish before July.

Steve Polter, owner of the Polter Berry Farm in Fremont, says strawberries are generally picked at the end of May, but the unusually mild winter and warm spring made the crop ripe, and ready to be picked:

"The earliest we've ever picked strawberries before was May 15th. And we picked strawberries on the 5th, on Cinco de Mayo this year - so 10 days earlier than we've ever picked before."

Polter says the weather also contributed to the quality of the berries:

"The size is phenomenal, I've never seen berries as big as the ones we've got here, we're picking now. I mean the cool weather, when they ripen under cool conditions they just size up tremendously."

The early harvest also has a few downfalls for the farm.

"There's a lot of...um...unexpected things. For one thing all of our labor isn't here yet. We've only got maybe a quarter of our labor force, which is enough for right now, but we're hoping to get more people." Polter explained.

Polter says they will also end the season earlier than usual:

"We're starting three weeks ahead of a normal season, so we're hoping it doesn't end three weeks early, but it probably is going to end three weeks earlier than normal. We always tell people we're going to go until the fourth of July, but there's no way we'll be at the fourth of July this year. We'll probably be wrapping up by the last week of June."

The Polter Berry Farm provides strawberries to local farmers markets, and will also be available at The Anderson's. You can also pick your own strawberries at the farm in June.

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