U-picks are opening around the province for strawberry lovers, but they may not be open for as long as they were in previous seasons, as some growers deal with the effects of late frosts.
Some operations started last weekend while others are opening this week.
Kennie’s Strawberry Farm outside Kentville is opening for the season Wednesday.
“We had the frost damage, so I won’t have the crop I’ve had in the past,” Bruce Kennie said Tuesday.
“We’ve never had a frost that late in the season, and do that much damage, in the 45 years the family has been in the strawberry business.”
He said the farm frost-protects its early varieties, but not the later ones.
“You generally don’t have to worry about that kind of a frost in June, so we have a crop that is probably going to be half of what it was (last year),” he said.
The farm normally has 40-45 acres of berries growing each year.
Kennie said there were weren’t a lot of blossoms on the later varieties when the frost hit, “but it even nipped them right down in the small bud stage, so it shocked me when I realized how much damage I had from it.”
He said he’s not planning to change the price to try to make up for the losses.
“In most seasons that’s a reasonable amount, and I’m going to be competitive with the other growers whether I have half a crop or not,” he said.
He said his wholesale price is up by 25 cents, “but over the years you have small increases anyhow.”
The flavour of the berries is still good even with the frost, he said.
Barbara Bishop, who sells picked berries for the farm at its retail operation in New Minas, said that people were “bouncing” as they came into the stand at the prospect of getting fresh local berries.
The province said it still doesn’t know what the final losses in the strawberry crops will be.