There’s rain in the forecast! Thankfully, farms in the area have learned from history and take measures to deal with the all the moisture. Tom Rathier, scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s Valley Lab in Windsor says: “Many Connecticut farmers have used Yankee ingenuity to develop horticultural methods that overcome weather extremities, such as excess rain. Strawberries on raised beds are a perfect example.”
One such example are the farmers at Jones Family Farms in Shelton, CT who use an innovative style of planting strawberry fields on high raised beds of soil. This is a perfect antidote to the deluge of rain that the state has seen this month. “I can’t remember any season containing this much rain in recent memory”, states Jamie Jones, sixth generation farmer of Jones Family Farms in Shelton, CT.
Added Jones; “Because of the raised elevation of the beds, all this water is shed away from the plants and their precious berries. The natural straw mulch that is used to protect the berries also acts as a wonderful cushion for guests who come to harvest their own berries and keep them out of the wet soil. The farm has graded fields that allows for the rainwater to quickly flow away.”
Gil Simmons, Meteorologist from News Channel 8 WTNH in New Haven, talked about the rain in the area; “We have had quite a soggy June. After yesterday’s record rain, we are around two to three inches above normal for June to date.”
Of course, rain is not all bad for the berries; the added moisture helps a lot too. Terry Jones, fifth generation farmer, states: “The berries are beautiful and oh so juicy and packed with nutrition. You can’t help but say YUM when you bite into one of these berries. This could be one of the best crops of berries we’ve had in a long time.”
Commissioner F. Philip Prelli from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture urges local residents to head out to a farm and enjoy; “It’s a great time to go out and pick your own Connecticut strawberries. There are plenty for all to enjoy despite the rain.”
Jones Family Farms welcomes guests to harvest their own berries the month of June and into early July. Call the Farmer Jones Hotline at (203) 929-8425 for daily picking locations and hours. For directions and more information visit JonesFamilyFarms.com. For more news visit the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station at http://www.ct.gov/caes or the CT Department of Agriculture website at http://www.ct.gov/DOAG.