Hail and heavy rain destroy most of Mabel strawberry farm’s crop

Minnesota strawberries are ready for picking.

Growers across the state have reported fields full of blossoms and are expecting to be open for pick-your-own and pre-picked strawberries the last two weeks of June.

Picking strawberries is a popular summertime activity among Minnesota families, but Wold Strawberries in Mabel nearly lost their entire crop after a heavy storm passed through on June 9th.

Wayne Wold owns 12 acres of strawberries, but seven inches of rain and hail destroyed 10 of those a week and a half ago.

With 45 years in the berry business, this was the second time since 1988 that strong weather ruined his crop. As a result, he lost a bumper crop and most of his income.

"We were out that night looking at everything, and we knew we were in trouble. [The strawberries are] entirely dependent upon the weather. [It] makes an old man of you in a hurry," said Wold.

Berry season is short and sweet, with seasonal availability beginning in southern Minnesota and moving northward.

The typical strawberry season is two-three weeks long, but the length of harvest varies from farm to farm depending on varieties planted, weather, and soil type. Mild temperatures in the 70s and 80s extend the season and allow berries to ripen at a steady pace, while excessive heat can cause berries to ripen more quickly and shorten the season.

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