Above average rainfall in February benefits strawberry crops in the Central Valley

With cloudy skies, you may not be thinking about a spring and summertime favorite.

But some strawberry farmers in the Central Valley are only a few weeks away from harvest.

Above average rainfall in February will help this year's harvest last through October.

"It looks like it is in full bloom right now and it looks like it is going to rain. So we need the water as much as we can right now," said Michael Yang, University of California Cooperative Extension.

He works with small farms and specialty crops in the Hmong community, including a strawberry field in Northeast Fresno near Willow and Behymer.

Yang said the rain will add to the groundwater supply most farmers use to grow their crops plus it will help make the strawberries sweeter.

"Strawberries need cool weather but in the summer the hot weather with the variety strawberries will not survive the heat," he added.

Yang said small farmers must pick most of their crops from late March to early June.

If this wet weather pattern continues through spring, strawberries could rot and that could impact certain types of strawberries.

"But Chandler is real soft you have to consume by four to six hours after harvest and that is pretty much it but with variety, strawberry can put it into your refrigerator until tomorrow," said Yang.
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