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Want fresh local berries? You'd better hurry

Raspberries are arriving early this year, with Boxx Berry Farm expecting to start u-pick on Wednesday, June 15. Blueberries also are so early they already are ripening on commercial farms.
Raspberries are arriving early this year, with Boxx Berry Farm expecting to start u-pick on Wednesday, June 15. Blueberries also are so early they already are ripening on commercial farms. The Bellingham Herald

When it comes to picking berries this season, there is little time for hesitation.

U-pick strawberries are quickly disappearing from Whatcom County farms, while raspberries are already being harvested, weeks ahead of a typical year.

On commercial farms strawberries, raspberries and some blueberry harvests are happening at the same time, according to the Small Fruit Update put out by The Northwest Berry Foundation. In a typical season, the strawberry, raspberry and blueberry harvests are spread out throughout the summer months.

Barb Kraght of Barbie’s Berries said the strawberry harvest was a good one this year, but it was a difficult to manage. It typically relies on teenagers to help with the harvest, but this year’s harvest started in mid-May, weeks before school ended. Typically the strawberry harvest starts after school begins summer break.

“We had trouble finding pickers for the harvest,” Kraght said. “It hit us like a ton of bricks.”

On the u-pick side, Kraght said they probably have enough strawberries left to get through the weekend on the farm at 7655 Melody Lane, with a new batch of u-pick raspberries expected to be ready in a couple weeks. The farm is selling its picked berries and is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Boxx Berry Farms said on its Facebook page that its raspberry u-pick is expected to start on Wednesday, June 15, with strawberry u-pick done but the fruit is available in the store. It is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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