It’s a great time to be in Whatcom County as all the produce begins to ripen. In this midst of a strange season, agriculture changes in some ways, but not all.
Mike Boxx, owner of Boxx Berry Farm in Ferndale, shares an enthusiastic announcement on the farm show that strawberry season is in full swing. This is one thing that everyone can rely on this summer: Fresh Pacific Northwest Strawberries!
As Boxx points out, the best time to buy strawberries is starting now and the best option is to buy fresh. Unfortunately, Whatcom strawberry varieties don’t have much of a self life at about 6 hours maximum. They are picked fresh every morning by farms around the county and usually sold out before the afternoon is up.
As Boxx Berry Farm and other farms in Whatcom County start on their first pickings this week, Boxx notes that while his approximately 10 acres of strawberry fields aren’t perfectly uniform, he looks forward to a strong yield this year. Yet, as always, the strawberry season goes by fast.
This year seems to be a typical Whatcom County strawberry season, says Boxx. There’s a classic rain battle for farmers, which can create soft and rotten fruit that bring the shelf life down to 2 hours. However, Boxx is optimistic for a warmer summer to clear up the extra moisture.
Boxx Berry Farm, which also offers strawberries for U-Pick, has at least five different varieties including Sweet Sunrise, Puget Reliance, Mary’s Peak, Puget Crimson, and others. Like other farms in the county, Boxx has a mix of early and late varieties to spread out the season.
The reality is, strawberry harvest is a lot of work, says Boxx. Not to mention, it is a fresh crop that is highly perishable and short-lived as far as availability.
As U-Pick and other local farm activities start to open up, Boxx points out the important steps farmers are taking to ensure safety. These include lots of handwashing stations, encouraging social distancing, and keeping the sites clean. This is a top priority for all Whatcom County farmers.
To learn more about Boxx Berry Farm and the strawberry season, listen to the full story here: