Strawberry Time Is Near - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Strawberry Time Is Near

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Strawberries on the vine in various stages of ripeness.  Calhoun Produce has a total of five acres of strawberries in Turner and Worth Counties. Strawberries on the vine in various stages of ripeness. Calhoun Produce has a total of five acres of strawberries in Turner and Worth Counties.
This strawberry is nearly ready to be picked.  The warm December gave the plants an early start. This strawberry is nearly ready to be picked. The warm December gave the plants an early start.
This classic truck has been the symbol for Calhoun Produce for many years. This classic truck has been the symbol for Calhoun Produce for many years.
One of the products that is made at Calhoun Produce from the strawberries is ice cream. One of the products that is made at Calhoun Produce from the strawberries is ice cream.
This welcome sign is made locally, as are many of the products that Calhoun Produce sells. This welcome sign is made locally, as are many of the products that Calhoun Produce sells.
ASHBURN, GA (WALB) -

When you think of fruits that are grown in Georgia, you probably think of peaches. But strawberries are a popular choice for South Georgia fruit growers and now it's nearly harvest time for the berries.  But the weather this season has provided some challenges.

It's been quite a season for South Georgia weather-wise.  And if you think that you're confused by the swings in the weather, you should try being a farmer.  Nature can be a fickle master at times.

Sheila Rice for Calhoun Produce said, "last year we got started early, but that was the first time in 17 years that we had started that early."

This season the weather has been just as unpredictable as it was last year.

Take December, for example.

"At Christmas this year we started to see lots of blooms," said Rice.

Then came the recent rains.

"We tried to pick them off before the rain, but what we couldn't get we come in afterwards and pick them up."

That was followed by the bone chilling temperatures of the last few days.  While Calhoun's fields use drip irrigation, they have sprinklers as well.  When it gets cold, they come in handy.

"The overhead sprinklers come on in the field and it freezes the field so that it's just a sheet of ice," said Rice.

While that sounds like it would kill the plant it actually protects it by insulating it.

The wild nature of the weather in any year makes people who live off of the land learn to roll with whatever happens.

But you know what they say, farmers are a resilient lot after all and when life hands you lemons you make lemonade.  Or at Calhoun Produce - strawberry lemonade.

Now, more heavy rains are in the forecast.  If we see the amounts that are expected over the next few days, Calhoun Produce will be ready for that too.  Their strawberry patch can take some water.

"It's made to drain very well," said Rice.

The good news is that despite the challenges that growers are facing this year, the crop still looks like it will be a good one.  And that's welcome news for people who like the little tastes of South Georgia.

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