LEVANT — Strawberry season is just beginning, and folks are already visiting farms to pick berries.
“It’s been really great. We’ve had really good weather. We planted a very large planting of strawberries last year and so we have a lot of supply out here. Lots of really big red berries,” said Matthew Pellerin, agricultural manager and owner of Treworgy Orchards.
Pellerin said the crops rely on water to get ripe and survive.
“The plants would be a little less healthier. The berries would be small,” Pellerin said. “I mean, really plants need water to live, so in an extreme situation they might not make it.”
Rachel Schattman, an assistant professor of sustainable agriculture at the University of Maine, said researchers are studying how changes in rainfall patterns could affect strawberries.
“We anticipate that what we will find is that without supplemental irrigation that berry yields and crop quality will go down. That’s our working hypothesis,” Schattman said.
According to Pellerin, Treworgy Orchards has an irrigation pond that helps feed the berries.
“I’m constantly watering almost every day the strawberries from our pond,” Pellerin said.
Pellerin said the irrigation pond could go dry if it doesn’t rain enough.
“We will eventually use all of that water and then our plants will become a little stressed, but we have enough water to make it almost all the way through the season,” Pellerin said.
Schattman said strawberry season came early this year, and that trend can continue in the future.
“We’re actually supposed to get more rain over the course of the year moving forward,” Schattman said. “It’s just that that rain is going to arrive earlier in the year in the spring and that we’re more likely to see longer dry periods in the fall.”
Pellerin said he expects to have berries available through the Fourth of July.