Strawberry fields forever lure pickers

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

As long as the weather cooperates, strawberries and pickers will be as prominent as flowers and showers in April.

Strawberry season has begun, kicking off with a bang last week at Holden Brothers Farm Produce in Shallotte.

Shallotte resident Gay Stanley and her daughter, Larissa Green, were among residents who rode the strawberry cart to get to the fields last Thursday, April 18, which was a beautiful, sunny spring day. They deemed this year’s picking excellent.

Joining them on the cart after picking-time was New Middletown, Ohio, resident Sam Schellingberger, who emerged from the field with market employee Domingo Castello, who carried a box of freshly picked berries. It was a busy day for Schellingberger, who said he was picking strawberries that day, then attending a gospel concert later on.

Shallotte resident Bill Estes was still busy filling up a bucket in the strawberry field. He said he picks berries about three times a year, then his wife freezes them to use year-round.

“That’s her breakfast all year long,” he said, adding, “These are very pretty.”

Freezing berries is easy, Estes said.

“You wash ’em, lay ’em out on a towel and let dry, then slice and put in the freezer,” he said, adding, “Everybody probably has different ways of doing things.”

He said he can tell berries are ripe when they release easily from the vine.

“That way, you know you’ve got the right one,” he said.

And the taste this year is “very good,” Estes added.

Pick-your-own strawberries are selling for $1.30 a pound and are weighed inside the store. Already-picked berries are selling for $4 a quart and $14.50 a bucket at Holden Brothers.

Strawberry-picking hours at Holden Brothers are 8 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. daily, as long as weather permits.

Strawberries are also available this year at Indigo Farms, 1542 Hickman Road, Calabash. But because of the recent return of cold weather and customer demand, the field has been open intermittently.

Pick-your-own-strawberries are selling for $1.30 a pound. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Call 287-6794 or (843) 399-6902 to find out when fields are open.

Already-picked strawberries are also available in the Indigo Farms produce market.

Cold weather this past weekend has also caused strawberry delays for Billy and Katherine Ingram at Waccamaw River Farm and Nursery on Kingtown in Ash.

Billy Ingram said Monday he hopes they’ll be back in business in the next few days.

Call them at (910) 540-3713 or (910) 470-3713 for information.


Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.