Nova Scotia

Strawberries plentiful in Cape Breton but the workers aren't

It's been a bumper crop for strawberry farmers in Nova Scotia this year, but at least one Cape Breton farmer says a labour shortage may spoil his season.

Eddie Rendell says he can't get enough seasonal workers to harvest his crop

Eddie Rendell says his u-pick numbers are up, but it's only a small part of his business. (Brian McHugh/CBC)

It's been a bumper crop for strawberry farmers in Nova Scotia this year, but at least one Cape Breton farmer says a labour shortage may spoil his season.

Eddie Rendell of Rendell's Farm says the weather has been the perfect storm for strawberry farmers.

"I always remember my dad tell me the best season he ever had was a cold, wet summer. They're not ripening too quick and we have enough moisture," he said.

The berries maybe be plentiful but workers aren't.

Rendell says it's slim pickings trying to get enough seasonal workers to harvest his crop. He says the season is too short for foreign worker.

"I got to cut back to half my acres because we can't get the labor force," he said.

The Mills Creek farmer says 75 per cent of his workforce is older and he needs younger pickers, like Cameron Taylor.

The teen says it's hard work, but she does it to "make money."

Rendell says he needs 40 more workers like Taylor or half of his strawberry crops will spoil in the fields this season.

Rendell says his u-pick numbers are up, but it's only a small part of his business.

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