Whatcom strawberry farmers expect early varieties to be ready in early June

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 17, 2014 

Mike Boxx, Boxx Berry Farm, strawberries, Whatcom

Mike Boxx shows off a unripe strawberry at Boxx Berry Farm east of Ferndale, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Boxx says the strawberries should be ready to pick in two weeks.

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

With the end of the school year fast approaching, it's time for Whatcom County residents to start thinking about those local strawberries.

Strawberry harvesting is one traditional kickoff to summer in Whatcom County, and it appears the early varieties of strawberries will be ready in the first week of June. It'll depend on what the weather does in the next couple of weeks, said Mike Boxx of Boxx Berry Farms. If the sun comes out and it's relatively warm, the strawberries will be ready sooner; rain and cool temperatures will delay the harvest.

If the weather cooperates, the main part of the strawberry harvest will be ready in mid-June, with most of the berries picked by the end of the month.

So far it's looking like a good crop this year, said Randy Kraght, co-owner of Barbie's Berries. It was a wet spring from the berry farmers' standpoint, but he said the plants handled the extra rain well.

For those looking to do some u-picking at local berry farms, it's a fairly short window, with the peak only lasting a few days and the entire harvest usually done in about 20 days. After strawberries are done, farmers and residents turn their attention to the raspberry and blueberry harvest.

Kraght said some winter damage was done to the raspberry crop, particularly when two snowstorms hit this area on back-to-back weekends in February. This could mean fewer raspberries this year, Kraght said, but the quality shouldn't be impacted by what happened during the winter.

NEW CHOWDER BAR OPENS IN SUDDEN VALLEY

Sudden Valley residents now have some seafood option without having to drive into Bellingham.

Barbara and Robert Atterberry recently opened Bob's Chowder Bar inside the Valley Market at 2275 Lake Whatcom Blvd. Menu items include food seen at their Anacortes restaurant, including fish and chips, grilled wild salmon, prawns, oysters and clam chowder. The Valley Market has a seating area, so customers can hang out and eat or take it to go with their groceries.

Barbara Atterberry said they went with a quiet opening earlier this month and were very pleased with the feedback from Sudden Valley residents.

"This is our fifth year in business and our goal was to grow," she said. "We're just glad Sudden Valley folks are happy we're here."

The chowder bar's hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and open an hour later on Friday and Saturday. The company also makes dressings like Lemon Love, which is also sold at the market.

Details about the company can be found on its Facebook page.

NEW RESTAURANT, OYSTER BAR NOW OPEN AT SEMIAHMOO RESORT

The Semiahmoo Resort Golf and Spa has completed a renovation of one restaurant and opened a second eatery.

The new restaurant is Pierside Kitchen, while the renovated one is Packers Oyster Bar.

Pierside will focus on local and regional food, with the kitchen featuring a wood-fired oven. It is on the pier, with views of White Rock, B.C. It has a seaside mariner theme, according to a news release. Menu items include Neah Bay Coho salmon, Dungeness crab cakes, pizza and pasta.

Packers will have a more casual look, with views of Drayton Harbor. It will have a variety of small and large plate offerings, including clams, oysters, burgers and pizza.

Both Pierside and Packers will be led by chef Eric Truglas. The Pierside will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner while Packers is open 11:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

For details, including menus, visit semiahmoo.com.

OYSTER CREEK INN OWNER LOOKING TO REOPEN RESTAURANT

The new owner of the Oyster Creek Inn building is looking for a qualified manager/chef to get the restaurant back up and running as soon as possible.

Gary Horrell recently took over the building at 2190 Chuckanut Drive. The restaurant had closed at the end of April after operators Thomas and Danielle Palmer opened The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant and Pub at 205 E. Washington St. in La Conner.

Horrell said the restaurant is 95 percent equipped and ready to go, so he expects the restaurant to be open in a matter of weeks after a new tenant is found. He's hoping for a summer re-opening of the restaurant.

With its proximity to Taylor Shellfish Farms, Horrell would expect the new restaurant to have that theme, but the menu is up to the new tenant.

For those interested in running the restaurant, contact KC Coonc, managing broker of Windermere Real Estate Fairhaven at 360-305-9977 or kc@NorthSoundcommercial.com

OTHER TIDBITS

-- The Horseshoe Cafe on Holly Street in Bellingham has decided to close on Mondays and Tuesdays. According to its new hours posted on the door, it'll remain open 24 hours on the other days of the week, closing at 2 a.m. on Monday mornings.

-- Paws Awhile, the Whatcom Humane Society's gift store in Fairhaven, will be closing on Sunday, June 15. According to the Whatcom Humane Society's website, increasing costs led to the decision to close the store.

-- City Dogs Grooming at 711 E. Holly St. is now open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays for customers who want to clean their dogs themselves. The self-wash service allows customers to use professional equipment without an appointment and can get assistance from staff in lifting larger dogs and advice on technique. "You clean the dog, we clean up the mess," said owner Lee Ann Kelly. For more info, call 360-756-9515 or visit citydogsgrooming.com.

-- A liquor license was approved for Tadeos Northwest to go in at 3040 Northwest Ave., near Yeager's Sporting Goods.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Business Blog at bellinghamherald.com/business-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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