Strawberries survived this seasonâ€™s harsh temperatures, making them one of the only farm-fresh fruits available.
â€œWe really need to appreciate these strawberries because most of our fruit crops are going to be thin or non-existent this summer,â€ said Kevin Starr, director of the Lincoln County Cooperative Extension.
Peaches, apples, blueberries and blackberries all took a hit after warm temperatures took a nose-dive this spring.
â€œThe freeze got everything else, but the strawberries got through the cold okay,â€ said Barry Lineberger of Linebergerâ€™s Berry Hill Farm in Iron Station.
Saving those strawberries, however, was not an easy task. The Linebergers had to stay up through the night irrigating the fruit.
â€œWe were up all night six nights in a row,â€ Lineberger said.
The frozen water kept the temperature a consistent 32 degrees on plants, just warm enough for survival.
â€œWe had just enough water to get us through,â€ Lineberger said.
The Linebergers tried to save the blueberries as well, but there was too much surface area to cover.
The strawberries only suffered the loss of a few blossoms. Their growth was also slowed down a little bit.
That said, it looks to be a healthy strawberry season.
â€œThe berries are nice â€“ a very good size,â€ Lineberger said.
Once the strawberries are gone, however, the rest of the fruit season will be less than stellar.
Dying crops didnâ€™t just hit Lincoln County â€“ it affected farms all across the Southeast. This means higher-priced fruit in grocery stores.
â€œBuy all the strawberries you can,â€ Starr said.
As for the farmers, theyâ€™ve seen worse â€“ just not recently.
â€œItâ€™s part of it. My dadâ€™s been farming for over 50 years, and itâ€™s just part of the business,â€ Lineberger said. â€œYou just sort of build it into your plans almost.â€
Want to go? Linebergerâ€™s Berry Hill Farm is located at 2400 Hudson Poultry Road in Iron Station. Strawberries can be bought Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. For more information call (704) 748-1488.
by Sarah Grano