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Rain and chill not making for an ideal spring for strawberries

OWEGO (WBNG) — Summertime in the Southern Tier means a lot of things, top among those fresh, local strawberries. Frank Wiles owns the Our Green Acres farm, and has been hard at work for a number of years.

“Well, we’ve been farming I guess now a little over 50 years. We’ve been raising strawberries I guess for pretty well all of that time,” said Wiles.

This is a busy time of year for his farm, and many others around the area that grow strawberries, especially since the crop isn’t doing as well this spring.

“Because of the strawberry festival here in Owego and Father’s Day on Sunday, there’s just not enough berries to go around for this weekend,” said Wiles

Wiles says all of the consistent rain has been limiting strawberry growth. The plants like a fairly dry soil, with decent sunshine as well. All the additional water also carries a higher risk for disease. The rain hasn’t been the only issue though.

“Along with all of the rain we’ve had, it’s been cool. So we haven’t had the growing degree days,” said Wiles.

Even through the struggles, Wiley still works hard to provide local strawberries and much more to the people of the Southern Tier. He loves what he does, but wants people to know it’s not always easy.

“Two things, from my standpoint. One is the challenge and then it’s the satisfaction when everything works. But when they don’t the frustration is a killer,” said Wiles.

It’s a busy weekend with strawberries in high demand across the state of New York. Though weather conditions have not been all that kind to farmers thus far, there should be plenty of locally grown, fresh strawberries as we go throughout the rest of the summer.

Damon Matson

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