British Columbia

'They're massive': strawberry season sweeps Fraser Valley

Strawberries are in season much earlier than in years past in the Lower Mainland, much to the joy of local berry lovers.

Strawberries are in season much earlier this year in Lower Mainland

Nearly eight tonnes of strawberries were picked at Krause Berry Farms in Langley on the opening strawberry harvest day of the season. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

It's been a particularly fruitful year for strawberry farmers in the Lower Mainland.

On Wednesday, hundreds of guests stormed Krause Berry Farms for its first strawberry harvest of the year, picking nearly eight tonnes of berries before the day's end, according to farm co-owner Alf Krause.

Children were among the most enthusiastic strawberry pickers on Wednesday. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Other strawberry farms in the region, including Emma Lea Farms, W&A Farms, and Driediger Farms, are also open for the annual pick.

Krause says this year's harvest has come sooner than in past years thanks to favourable weather conditions.

Hundreds of visitors picked through the berry farm, scouring for the largest berries of the lot. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

"Last year, it rained and rained and rained," he said, adding this spring there was a perfect mix of moisture and heat.

"We were anticipating [a later start] than last year — and then April and May came," said Krause. "Beautiful sunshine, warm temperatures as we all know — and the berries just started bursting."

'They're massive'

Fields were packed with guests, many of whom carried out carts filled with buckets of strawberries.

"They're massive," said visitor Judy West, knee deep in a row of berries. "Last year they were really small, and I make jam so it takes a lot to pick what you need."

A woman gathers a bucket of strawberries in the U-Pick section of Krause Berry Farms. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

"This year, I [picked six bowls] in an hour," she added.

The current strawberry harvest is expected to last a few weeks, and then many farms will begin transitioning to raspberries and then to blueberries.

Krause says a second strawberry harvest will be ready later on this summer.