Picking Is Now Underway in the Carolinas! (5:30pm, Wed, 4/6/16)

Posted On April 6, 2016— Written By Barclay Poling


Fig. 1. The Carolinas are the U.S. States of North Carolina and South Carolina, considered collectively, and this week I  had the double pleasure of being in both states as the start of this new strawberry season.

Wed. evening (4/6/16) – just got these two photos from Sue Leggett in NASH COUNTY, NC. The variety is Camarosa, of course!

leggett on 4.6.16 ripe camsFig. 1. Photo from “Strawberry City” in Nashville, NC. The grower just sent a note, “Ready to Pick.”

Cams LeggettFig. 2. Red-ripe and very impressive Camarosa berries at Strawberry City this afternoon.

On Monday afternoon, we had an opportunity to stop by and visit with James Cooley and his assistant, Jerry Blackwell. Jerry gave us an amazing tour of the Strawberry Hill USA operation in Chesnee, SC. They have over 100 acres of strawberries! That’s right, I am not making this up!

cooley workerFig. 3. One of the workers at Strawberry Hill USA, who is holding up a gallon of freshly picked Camarosa berries (fresh dug plants).

picking flatFig. 4. Pretty as a picture! This is a very clever container with handle for carrying 2 gallons. The bucket on the left holds Camarosa berries that are headed for the Cooley Farm kitchen and for making ice cream!

DSC_0203Fig. 5. The gallon bucket is a popular picking container in the Carolinas!

Earlier in the morning on Monday (4/4) we had a great visit with Bob Hall in York, SC.

outstanding crop AlbionFig. 5. Albion ready for picking on Monday in York, SC. This operation is a full 3 weeks ahead of last year!

albion hall on 4.4.16Fig. 6. Another view of Albion crop at the Bush-N-Vine Farm in York.

sweet ann at hall on 4.4Fig. 7. By next week, these Sweet Ann berries should be ready as well! Bob Hall emphasizes mostly all day-neutrals in his operation. Sweet Ann is a DN from Lassen Canyon Breeding program.

sweet ann from CAFig. 8. Jim Bagdasarian, Lassen Canyon Strawberry Breeder, sent this photo to me today of Sweet Ann in Salinas, CA (this is an organic strawberry operation). We’re hoping Sweet Ann looks this good in the Carolinas! There are several test sites across NC-SC for the new Lassen varieties (Ruby June, Sweet Ann, Lucia and Scarlet). Jim and his assistant breeder, Nick Pinketon, will be visiting the Carolinas on April 25-27, to review these test sites. There will be a Twilight Tour at one of the locations (Elm City, NC) on the evening of Tuesday April 26! Be on the lookout for details about this exciting tour!

PART_1460060403151_IMG_20160407_090204552Fig. 9. (Eastern NC) Ruby June, a new variety from Lassen Canyon, at a farm in Seven Springs, NC (photo taken on Thur, April 7th). These were grown from cut-off plants.

ruby june rudd apr 5Fig. 10. (Piedmont, NC) Ruby June, a new variety from Lassen Canyon, at a farm in Greensboro, NC on Tuesday, April 5 (just before the FROST on April 6). These were also grown from cutoffs.


Let’s hope we all get through this next go round of freezes that Dr. Jay Shlegal mentioned today in his Weather forecast through May 7th!

Have a restful evening!

Barclay Poling