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Local strawberry crop delay, shortage

COBDEN (WSIL) — Every spring for the past 20 years, locals drive by Bass Farms off of Route 51 just waiting for its "Fresh Strawberry" sign to go up. But this year, that happened about a week later than usual. 

Tuesday May 7 is the first day customers could stop by the stand and buy the fruit. Co-owner Becky Bass says the delay is due to recent weather conditions. 

"It’s been pretty damp. It’s been pretty cold," Bass explains. "They need a lot of sunshine. A lot of heat to build up that sugar content." 

While Bass farms had a delay in their crop, Flamm Orchards had a different problem on top of "excessive" rain as co-owner Jeff Flamm puts it. 

"It started last fall, we had some disease issues with our plants coming from the nursery," Flamm says. 

The plants have been nursed back to health, but the disease kept them from growing to their full potential and producing a bountiful amount of strawberries. 

"While the berries are still good, we just don’t have as many of them as we normally would have," Flamm explains. 

Depending on quality, the strawberries will be sold at the stand or chopped and served on home-made strawberry shortcake. 

Although more berries are expected to ripen this weekend, Flamm still predicts a shortage.

He says visitors should arrive early before they’re sold out, "I’m thinking that the fresh berries and quarts are going to be pretty tight." 

Meanwhile, Bass says they’ll also have more strawberries ready for those looking to spend a special day with Mom this Mother’s Day weekend or just get their strawberry fix, "Everybody is strawberry-hungry first of the season. There ought to be plenty of berries." 

Bass Farms and Flamm Orchards  say you can call ahead to make sure strawberries are in stock. 

  • Bass Farms – (618) 893-2600
  • Flamm Orchards – (618) 893-4241

Hallsberry Farms is also open for business and can reached at (618) 559-6127.

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