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It's time to snare those sweet Whatcom strawberries. Here's an update on the harvest.

Why spring, summer is a delicious time in Whatcom County

Whatcom County's maritime weather is well-suited to growing many varieties of berries, and continues to be the top red raspberry-producing county in the United States. Strawberries and blueberries also grow locally and are available at u-pick farms.
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Whatcom County's maritime weather is well-suited to growing many varieties of berries, and continues to be the top red raspberry-producing county in the United States. Strawberries and blueberries also grow locally and are available at u-pick farms.

Warm, dry weather last month is good news for people who enjoy sweet Whatcom County strawberries.

Harvest time is underway at local farms, with roadside stands being set up and strawberries showing up at local stores. U-pick has started at some farms, while others are expected to get going in the next week or two.

The warm weather in May was fantastic for every crop at Bellingham Country Gardens at 2838 Kelly Road, said owner Sam Grubbs. Earlier this week the farm opened for u-pick 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays of its no-spray San Andreas variety strawberries.

Getting sunshine in May, during the ripening phase, has an impact on the sweetness of strawberries. Too little sunlight can make them sour, while too much can lead to stressed berries.

Once the strawberry harvest gets started in Whatcom County it is generally very quick, lasting just a few weeks. A few farms such as Bellingham Country Gardens will offer varieties later in the summer.

Whatcom County has around 280 acres of strawberries, making them the smallest of the three main berry crops harvested in this area. Raspberries are usually the next to be harvested, followed closely by blueberries.

Here's a update on some of the Whatcom County farms that grow strawberries:

Shumway's Berries at 6010 Siper Road near Everson has just started its self-serve u-pick, which is open each day from dawn to dusk. Details can be found on its website.

At Boxx Berry Farm the strawberries are being sold at the store but u-pick isn't expected to start for another 7-10 days. The store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Updates can be found on its Facebook page.

At Barbie's Berries, stands have been set up in the county and are in stores, but u-pick hasn't opened yet, according to its Facebook page.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz
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