Lakeview Farms

Strawberry Picking

Up-to-date report on PYO/U-Pick strawberry picking conditions at Lakeview Farms ( St. Louis Missouri metro area)

Strawberry Picking at Lakeview Farms

Hours and an idea of when the strawberry season will start and end

PYO/U-Pick price and method of payment information

Description and picture of the varieties we have grown

Tips on strawberry picking and care of your berries

Photos of customers picking strawberries and record sized berries picked at Lakeview Farms

2019 Strawberry Crop/Picking Report

June 13, 2019:  Today was our last picking day for strawberries.

June 11, 2019:  Picking was slightly better today so we will closed down for Wednesday and open up for our final day of strawberry picking on Thursday, June 13.

June 10, 2019:  Customer flow was slower than normal for a Monday so some berries remain for Tuesday but the conditions  of June 8 have not improved so picking continues to be of the season-end type.

June 8, 2019:  We are in our final few days of picking in the new Cabot.  Berries are smaller and more scattered with thrip damage (see below) and sunburn evident in the more exposed berries so picking is more difficult and much slower than it was during peak picking a week ago.  Customers still are finding good (but smaller) berries but it is harder work.  We will close Sunday to allow more berries to ripen after Saturday's heavy picking pressure.

June 6, 2019: We had 3/4" of rain last night so some mold is evident on ripe berries that were not picked two days ago but this problem on the new Cabot has not yet achieved a serious level.  Customer flow again pretty well matched supply.

June 5, 2019:  We are starting to see more-rapid-than-normal fall off in the new Cabot berry size but the supply still appears OK.  Some flower thrip damage appears evident in scattered pockets which complicates row assignment and requires occasional customer relocation.

June 4, 2019:  New Cabot picking continued to look good but our luck matching supply with customer flow finally ran out with large groups of late arriving customers.  The area of new Cabot that we had set aside for picking was exhausted about 10 AM and we had to give the late arriving customers the unenviable  choice of picking the older Cabot or coming back another day.   Some of the late arriving customers had called ahead and got a OK from us.   We did "luck out" and get only a trace of rain (.07") around dinner time (Tuesday) where parts of St. Louis county got .75 or ten times as much.

June 3, 2019:  Three days in a row of pretty well matched supply versus customer flow --- picking continued to be good in the new Cabot.

June 2, 2019:  Once again customer flow pretty well matched the supply of berries in the new Cabot and picking was good.  The .7" rain of last night helped to worsen an already marginal picking situation in the old Cabot area so it is possible that we may be unable to pick there again and have to rely 100% on the new Cabot.  Customers planning to arrive after mid morning on Tuesday would be wise to call before they leave home just to be sure we have not had a "Friday the 31" type busy day.

June 1, 2019:  Unlike Friday, crowd flow for Saturday was about right on target and we did not need to close down early.  While we did transition to the older Cabot about mid morning, it was accomplished in an orderly fashion.  We saved two blocks of the "new" Cabot for earlybirds on Sunday ---  should be good picking with two days rest!  This area is well strawed so the light rain forecast for early Saturday evening should not present a problem for Sunday pickers.

May 31, 2019: Picking continued to be good in the newer Cabot but a extra large customer turnout forced us to transition to the older Cabot about mid morning.  There is still a reasonable berry supply in the older Cabot but picking times are slower due to the medium size, need to avoid overripe berries and more scattered nature of the ripe berries.  We will follow the same pattern for Saturday but it looks very likely that we will need to shut down picking before our normal 11:00 AM closing to have berries available for Sunday.  I would recommend customers consider coming on either Sunday or Monday but if they are intent on picking Saturday, it would be wise to come early.

May 30, 2019:  Best picking day of the season so far!  Cooler weather, excellent berry picking, and no early closures.  Almost all customers are picking a 10 lb. flat in 30 to 45 minutes as berry size is large.  Picking & weather for Friday looks equally good.

May 29, 2019: Rainout -- not open

May 28, 2019:  First general picking in the "new" Cabot got underway Tuesday.  Customers generally were quite pleased with berry quality and some filled 10 lb. boxes in roughly 30 minutes.  Very little damage from the rains of last week was evident and size was good.  Roughly 75% of the area was picked so we will probably need to fall back on the "old" Cabot for later morning picking on Wednesday if the weather permits.

Memorial Day, May 27, 2019:  Sales were brisk with Customers seeming to do well today in the "old" Cabot managing to pretty well pick the whole area.  Test pickers in the "new" Cabot also did well so we plan to move there for Tuesday's picking which will be the first for that area.

May 26, 2019:  We were closed today to allow the berries a chance to ripen but looking at the patch we last picked on Saturday it looks like we will have enough ripe berries to be open on Memorial Day, May 27.  The new patch probably won't be really ripe until late in the week although we might give customers the opportunity to "test pick" in the meantime.

May 25, 2019:  Customer flow was excellent but cut into berry availability for Sunday so we will shut down Sunday and reopen either Memorial Day or Tuesday, May 28 for our first picking in the newer Cabot.

May 24, 2019:  The berry field dried off nicely for picking today and customer flow was good.  Some of the ripe berries that remained in water too long have developed soft spots that will eventually spoil so some care in picking must be exercised.  The spoilage problem is not nearly as severe as it was last year so customer satisfaction with the picking remains good.  While the supply of berries for Saturday looks good, the Saturday before Memorial is usually one of our busier days so if you are planning to arrive late in the morning. I would suggest calling our berry hotline 636-978-8830 before you leave home.

May 23, 2019:  Today was our first day of picking.  The rains of the past few evenings made picking difficult in our older planting  as customers had to pick around poorly strawed rows with standing water.  The supply and size of berries, however, was much better than last year.  After eating Mexican & California strawberries the whole winter and spring I thought that flavor of the fully ripe Cabot was exceptionally good.  For Friday we have an excellent supply of ripe berries available for picking and it should definitely be a whole lot drier.

May 20, 2019:  We are seeing good color development in the berries carried over from 2018 so the start of harvest is probably just a few days away.  The new planting was mulched much heavier and this has slowed berry ripening to very late May.  It does look like the berry size on the later ripening group is significantly larger than the earlier group--which is just the reverse of normal. 

May 8, 2019:  Ideal cool conditions during bloom should favor good berry development and flavor.  Intermittent rains of the last two weeks have not been a problem and soil moisture remains ideal.

April 28, 2019:  The heavily mulched new Cabot planting is starting to bloom which means peak strawberry picking will be about May 30 thru June 10.

April 22, 2019:  We are starting to see significant numbers of blossoms in our lightly mulched carryover area from 2018 which indicates that the first picking in 2019 will probably begin in late May--slightly earlier than last year.  Very few blossoms are evident in our new planting that was heavily mulched and probably won't really get going until June.


2018 Strawberry Crop/Picking Report

June 6, 2018:  Today was our last day of strawberry picking.

June 4, 2018: It looks like we are getting close to the end of the strawberry season -- berry size is getting progressively smaller and berries are becoming more scattered making for more difficult picking.  June 6 may be our last picking day if conditions worsen.

June 2, 2018:  Due to the very large customer turnout early in the morning for the newer Cabot, it was necessary to move picking to the second year Cabot after about 8:45 AM where customers encountered smaller and more scattered berries and difficult picking conditions.  For Monday, June 4, picking there is no back up patch left so picking will terminate after ripe berries on the newer 1 year Cabot are gone for the day. 

June 1, 2018:  Customers picked the available first year Cabot up to about 9 AM and seemed to do OK -- berry size was medium and a 10 lb. box of strawberries could be picked in about a hour.  Size and availability went down dramatically later in the morning when we had to shift the the second year Cabot where berry size was small and picking time almost doubled.  The picking plan for Saturday will be similar to Friday.

May 30, 2018:  Today must have been "School Group Day" with a large turn out of what appeared to be an ad hoc group of parents and children.   While picking improved from Monday & Tuesday, it appears that a large portion of the ripe berries setting on the straw have turned soft on their underside which slows down the picking as  each individual berry must be examined before putting in the box.  While we have had minimal rain over the last week, heavy nighttime humidity with heavy dew almost insures that the berry and straw stay wet for longer than the Cabot can tolerate.  This was a very serious problem in 2017 and it could lead us to stopping strawberry picking much sooner in 2018 than I had anticipated.  The sunny skies and high winds later in the afternoon today will help but I am afraid that a lot of damage has been done.

May 28, 2018.  Our first day of strawberry picking was very busy considering it was conducted in a very hot, 95, humid environment that sapped pickers endurance and stressed the strawberry plants into moderate afternoon wilting.  Unexpectedly (for a first picking on Cabot) berry size was not any where near the humongous giants featured in our gallery of largest strawberry plants so it looks as if the hot May weather has had a big, negative effect on berry size for both the first and second fruiting year plants.  As is normal for a first picking, pickers encountered scattered ripe berries.

May 26, 2018:  The very high temperatures we have encountered during the last few days have not been what Cabot was bred for in Nova Scotia.  We had to provide some cooling overhead irrigation today during the hottest part of the day.  These temperatures would have caused more berry sunburn if not mitigated since a thermometer on the straw & in the direct sunlight registered over 115F.  Sunburn injury can occur on green strawberries and looks rust brown in that area directly exposed to the sun -- this usually prevents the green berry from ripening and thus unusable.

May 25, 2018:  While unusual shaped berries is normally common in the earliest coloring Cabot,  the assortment of shapes and sizes in 2018 looks abnormally variable.  Almost all of the unusually shaped berries were on raised bed second year fruiting bed that would have been must more susceptible to the December, 2017, quick freeze snap that damaged roses, Magnolias, and several other shrubs that tend to be less hardy.   Berry size is the first year fruiting Cabot looks good but the second year fruiting berries seem smaller than normal --- much along the lines of 2017.

May 22, 2018:  We are starting to see some red color develop in a few of the strawberries so my April 28 estimate of starting in the last week of May is probably still good.

May 14, 2018:  Judging from the bloom during the warmer weather we have had for the last week or so, the first and second week of June should be peak strawberry picking time.

April 28, 2018:  The cool weather over the last month has slowed down plant growth but we are finally starting to see a few scattered strawberry blossoms now---this means scattered strawberry picking should begin about 30 days from today.  It is still a little too early to judge berry size and productivity.   For 2018, Cabot will be our only strawberry variety available.

March 17, 2018: Straw has been raked off the strawberry rows and there appeared to be a few new leaves trying two poke thru the straw.  I am expecting a more normal harvest start date (like 2016) for 2018 strawberry picking.  Some winter freeze damage to the older leaves is evident but we have not checked the crowns yet for damage.

2017 Strawberry Picking Report

June 7, 2017:  Today was our last day of Strawberry picking.

June 5, 2017:  We had our first significant picking of Mayflower this season and the customer response was good.  It is a less productive berry with only medium size but it seems to have "weathered" the rainy weather better than Cabot.  Customers generally rate Flavorfest flavor better than Mayflower, however, due to the higher perceived tartness in the Mayflower.

June 3, 2017:  Strawberry picking is rapidly approaching the season's end.  Cabot size is medium and pickers must be selective to avoid the sunburned or otherwise rain spoiled berries in this most delicate variety.  Flavorfest continues to display better resistance to environmental/fungal problems plus good flavor but it's small size is a major downside.  We will be closed Sunday, June 4, to allow more berries to ripen up for picking on Monday.

May 28, 2017:  Strawberry picking had been good for the last 9 days but the rains Saturday evening and Irish mist all Sunday morning took a toll on berry quality--particularly the Cabot.  Customers will need to be selective in what they pick.  While Flavorfest and Mayflower are less affected, picking in these two varieties is slowed by small berry size in the Flavorfest and general scarcity of berries in the Mayflower.

May 23, 2017:  Strawberry picking has been good for the last 4 days.  We started picking Mayflower for the first time today and that variety should be available on Wednesday for those of you who feel that the Cabot does not have enough color and acidity to be a good jam strawberry.  So far, our strawberry supply has been good enough that we have not had to close early but that may change over the Memorial Day weekend.

May 19, 2017:  The strawberries are finally looking ripe and customers seemed to find plenty of ripe Cabot after the early morning rain.  Both the Cabot and Flavorfest picking looks good for Saturday.  The Flavorfest has excellent color and flavor this year but seems to run smaller than the Cabot.

May 15, 2017:  Today was opening day for strawberry picking.  While the picking was scattered as expected, I was surprised by the excellent flavor of the Cabot.  The high sugar content did however, create some modest berry cracking near the stem after the continuous drizzle of May 17 but the dry weather we have had since then has been favorable and kept berry rot to a minimum.  Flavorfest and Mayflower still do not have enough ripe berries to permit picking.

May 11, 2017:  The cold drizzle all day Thursday did little to facilitate ripening but the weather forecast for the next 7 days looks excellent.  Yesterday I picked 2 pints of ripe Mayflower for morning cereal -- they seemed fine but I think that I prefer either the Cabot or Flavorfest  which I sampled today.  Uneven ripening will be a problem during the first week of picking on all varieties. 

May 7, 2017:  We completed the second half of strawberry planting (for 2018 harvest) in conditions that were far from ideal -- cold, wet soils and plants that had started to break dormancy despite being iced for two weeks.  Berries for the 2017 harvest were starting to show color but are still a few days away from ripe, pickable condition.  The +80 F temperatures forecast for the next few days should speed up ripening.

May 1, 2017: I did not visit the farm during the rains of April 28-30 totaling 5 inches so I was surprised that the berries on Monday look the same (maybe slightly bigger) as they did last Thursday before the rains.  There is still no berry color evident so I am pretty sure that we will not be picking the first week in May.  Surprisingly, the Mayflower variety looks really productive and seems to have good size this year unlike last year where it was only fair.  Flavorfest looks fine but its berry size appears only medium.  The Cabot is variable and generally did not fill out the rows last fall like it should have so while berries are easier to see and (will be) deeper red they will be fewer and more scattered.

April 15, 2017:  50% of our new Cabot for 2018 harvest was planted today in ideal soil conditions.

April 13, 2017:  Like 2016 the strawberries are blooming very unevenly with a few scattered areas in full bloom and other areas with no blossoms at all yet.

April 8, 2017:  I've seen enough strawberry blossoms over the last week to be fairly confident that we are looking at a very early strawberry season this year. 

2016 Strawberry Picking Report

Saturday, June 11, 2016:  Customers finished the two remaining Cabot blocks on the lower level and we shut down for the season.

Friday, June 10, 2016:  Customers continued to pick in the lower level.  Only two blocks remain for Saturday picking so try to come early.  Picking was similar to Thursday (see below).  Saturday could be our final strawberry picking day if we have a large customer turnout.

Thursday, June 9, 2016:  Customers picked Cabot in the lower area.  As expected, berry size was small to medium and scattered like typical end-of-season picking.  Where a box of strawberries during peak strawberry picking took roughly 30 minutes, it now takes about 1 hour.  Berry supply will be tight and I expect to close earlier than 11 AM on Friday so try to come early in the morning (and beat the forecast heat for Friday).

Wednesday, June 8, 2016:  Customers who came early did very well on our lower level Cabot but later arrivals found the picking in Flavorfest and Mayflower more of the "end of season" variety with smaller berries and more scattered picking.  We will move back to the lower Cabot area on Thursday. Try to come early on Thursday if possible since we may be forced to end picking earlier than our normal closing time of 11 AM as we did today(Wednesday).

Tuesday, June 7, 2016:  Today was a VERY BUSY day!  Cabot picking on the lower level looked good but only a few rows remain for Wednesday due to the large customer turnout.  On Wednesday we will then move up to the Flavorfest & Mayflower where picking will be more of the "end of season" variety.  I'm not even sure whether the Mayflower will be pick able again this season so our berry supply for Wednesday could be tight and force us to shut down earlier than our normal closing.  Try to come early if possible.

Monday, June 6, 2016:  Cabot picking on the lower level continued to look good.  We will continue picking there Tuesday.

Sunday, June 5, 2016:  Cabot picking on the lower level left over from Saturday and Flavorfest on the upper level looked good but the Mayflower size has dropped and picking was more scattered than I would like to see.  We'll move back to the lower level Cabot on Monday.

Saturday, June 4, 2016:  Cabot picking on the lower level continues to look good.  We will start there early Sunday and move to the upper block later in the morning.

Thursday, June 2, 2016:  Flavorfest picking was good but some ripe strawberries have spoiled in the continual rains we have had so the pickers needed to be selective.  Mayflower seemed to hold up better in the rains but produced only 1/2 the berries of Flavorfest and is now running smaller than I would prefer.  We had a large, overflow crowd and had to pick some of the lower level Cabot --- customers thought the picking was better on our lower level which is where we will be picking on Friday.

Monday, May 30, 2016:  Cabot picking in our lower level was good.

Sunday, May 29, 2016:  Flavorfest picking in the upper level was quite good but Mayflower has a lighter color and does not appear to be as productive as Flavorfest.  The Mayflower has a little more acidity than either Flavorfest or Cabot which means it would probably be a better jam berry, however.  Once again, the newest Cabot on the upper level were good but scattered due to the winter crown injury.  For Memorial Day, we will be picking Cabot in the lower level  which looked pretty good when last picked on Saturday (see below).

Saturday, May 28, 2016, 6 PM:  Cabot picking in the lower level continued to be good and berry flavor was excellent.  Despite a large customer flow, we still have a good supply of Flavorfest, Mayflower, and Cabot  in the upper level available for Sunday picking.

Friday, May 27, 2016, 4 PM:  Because of the morning rain we delayed starting picking until 12 Noon and stayed open until about 4 PM in the afternoon.  Cabot picking was finally starting to look good and customer turnout was excellent.  Customers were routinely picking a box of strawberries in 30 to 45 minutes.   A very good supply of ripe Cabot will also be available for Saturday morning picking.

Thursday, May 26, 2016: 4 PM:  We were shut down for rain in the morning but there finally appears to be a good supply of ripe berries after the two day shutdown.  Picking will resume on Friday.  Flavor on the ripe Cabot with good color appears excellent.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 3 PM: There seems to be a better supply of ripe Cabot because of the extra day of ripening due to Wednesday's shut down so we will resume picking on Thursday.  Unfortunately, the high temperatures, low wind, and lack of consistent cloud cover caused some of the biggest exposed Cabot berries to sunburn (literally cook in the field on the berry side facing the sun).

May 24, 2016:  Tuesday was a repeat of Sunday:  Flavorfest picking was good, but Mayflower still had almost no ripe berries and the newer Cabot continued to perform poorly with few ripe berries available to pick.  With customers continuing to come faster than the available supply we will close down all day Wednesday, May 25, to allow a 3 day interval between picking and hopefully improve the situation. 

May 22, 2016:  Today was a bummer!  The Mayflower was still not ripe enough to pick and the customers polished off the Flavorfest and Cabot by 10 AM and we had to shut down early.  It is becoming increasingly obvious that the hail storm of May 11 (see below) caused some serious damage as the bruised berries seemed very prone to spoil in the rainy weather that we had last week.  Crown damage in our newer Cabot due to winter damage also contributed to the lower productivity.    

May 21, 2016:  First picking today in the older Cabot was scattered as expected but this should improve for Sunday, May 22, as we move back to the upper level with Flavorfest for its second picking.  I am hopeful that we will be able to pick Mayflower and the newer Cabot for the first time as well.

May 16, 2016:  Some scattered, ripe berries are now evident but will probably end up being "just for the birds".  While the new Flavorfest and Mayflower rows look uniformly productive with large berry size, the Cabot in 2016 is extremely variable and generally smaller than expected.  Surprisingly, the carry over Cabot that was planted in 2014 looks better than the "new" Cabot planted in 2015  --- this is just the reverse of normal.

May 13, 2016:  We are starting to see some red color developing in the Cabot berries which means harvest is not far off.  The O'Fallon hail storm on the afternoon of May 11 did bruise some of the unripe Cabot in the open (without leaf canopy) leaving a small brown mark on the berry.

April 27, 2016:  Warm weather for the last week or so has accelerated strawberry blooming.  The Mayflower & Flavorfest plants look great but the 1/2 acre of Cabot planted in the upper level for first harvest in 2016 seemed to suffer some crown damage/death during the winter.  Fortunately,  we have an excellent supply of Cabot in the lower level that came thru the winter in excellent condition so our overall Cabot supply should not be impacted too drastically.

April 2, 2016: Roughly 60% of our planned new Cabot were planted today in excellent soil conditions.  The nursery stock for 2016 looks very good.

March 26, 2016:  Straw raking on the strawberry bed was completed today.  The Mayflower & Flavorfest look very vigorous and are perhaps a week ahead of the Cabot in coming out of dormancy.


2015 Strawberry Crop Report

June 14, 2015:  Rain forced us to shut down about 10 AM.  Sunday turned out to be our final day of strawberry picking for 2015.  Continual rains over the last two weeks and forecast rains for the next several days dictate that we shut down due to excessive berry spoilage and difficult picking conditions.

June 8, 2015:  The continual rains, especially the night time rains, are having a negative impact on berry picking.  There is still a good supply of ripe berries but pickers must sort the berries that have been spoiled by the rains.

June 4, 2015:  Today was almost a total rainout and we were forced to shut down about 9 AM due to heavy rains and lightning.  The Cabot berries have held up fairly well in the excessive rains over the last two weeks but that was when temperatures were cooler.  Picking still looks good but some care must be taken during picking to avoid overripe, mushy berries.

May 30, 2015:  Despite the almost constant drizzel throughout morning, there was a good turnout of dedicated strawberry people for some of the best picking yet on the newer Cabot.  The berries seem to be holding up but some berry cracking due to excess moisture is evident the the ripest, high sugar content older Cabot near the pond.

May 29, 2015: Picking in the medium sized L'Amour looked exceptionally good and berry flavor seemed better than the Cabot.  Cabot seems to prefer warmer weather during the night for best ripenning flavor.

May 24, 2015:  Today was our first picking on the newest Cabot (planted last year).  Size was excellent and flavor better than 2014 and 2013.  The older Cabot is still producing but berry size is only medium.  We had a larger than normal Sunday crowd which may cut into the picking available for Memorial Day.

May 21, 2015:  Today was our first day of strawberry picking.  Picking in the medium sized L'Amour was good according to our customers but the aisles were still a little soggy to walk and kneel on.

May 13, 2015:  We are starting to see a few scattered ripe, red berries in the field now.  Roughly half of the new 1000 Flavorfest that we planted a few weeks ago have died (not sure why) and will need to be replanted. This variety is especially vigorous and a late May planting should still fill in the rows by 2016.

May 2, 2015:  Our unmulched strawberries are at full bloom now and should provide an earlier harvest than the heavily straw mulched newer plantings which are still a week from full bloom.

April 23, 2015:  We had some minor frost damage as the temperatures dipped into the mid 20's in our lowest elevation at berry bloom level.

April 18, 2015:  We planted 1000 Flavorest and 1000 Mayflower (that will fruit in 2016) in our upper area.  The Flavorest is supposed to be an exceptionally good tasting berry --- we do have a single row available for test picking in 2015 if you are interested.  The Mayflower seemed to hold up under the excessive rains in New England in 2014 and seemed worthy of a trial considering the difficulty we have had with too much moisture in our Cabot  in both 2013 & 2014.

April 4, 2015:  We planted 3000 Cabot (that will fruit in 2016) in our upper area right next to the Black Raspberry planting.

March 14, 2015: We begain raking straw off the mulched strawberry beds-- even the unmulched/poorly mulched strawberries seemed to make it through the winter in good shape.

2014 Strawberry Report

June 14, 2014:  Today was our last day for strawberry picking this year.

June 13, 2014:  The almost daly afternoon and evenings rains over the last two weeks have finally taken a toll on our strawberry crop.  Customers the last two days have had to pick very selectively to avoid berries spoiled by the rains.

June 4, 2014:  Heavy early morning rains forced us to close down picking for Wednesday but we'll be back open on Thursday morning.

June 1, 2014:  Strawberry picking will be at its peak for the next two weeks.  Don't miss out !  Berry supply for Monday & Tuesday looks excellent.  The occasional afternoon showers have provided ample moisture for the berries to ripen up so irrigation has not been needed soooo far.

May 29, 2014:  The strawberries are really starting to ripen up...Quickly !  We should have an excellent supply of both L'Amour & Cabot for Friday and the Saturday/Sunday weekend. 

May 26, 2014:  The L'Amour strawberry (a slightly earlier berry than the Cabot) looks very close to pickable stage.  There are also isolated patches of ripe Cabot which were not well strawed and ripened early that also look ready to pick.

May 22, 2014:  We are starting to see some "red" in the strawberry field but the cold weather of last week slowed down the start of our picking season by a day or two.  There are a few ripe berries but not enough to allow customer picking -- only the birds are picking strawberries now !

May 10, 2014:  Both the L'Amour & Cabot are in full bloom now so my earlier estimate of June 2 thru 15 for peak strawberry picking still looks good.  We should have an excellent supply of strawberries in 2014 !

April 28, 2014:  We are starting to see scattered bloom in both the L'Amour and Cabot varieties so the Strawberry season should start about the same time as last year.

April 12, 2014:  The strawberries that we will harvest in May & June are starting to leaf out but no blossems have appeared as yet.

April 30, 2014:  2000 new Cabot strawberry plants were planted today in conditions that were better than expected considering the 4-5" inches of rain that we had earlier in the week.  One row of a new, supposedly great flavored variety, called Flavorest was planted for trial and will first be fruited in 2015. 

April 29, 2014:  Even though the straw was raked off over two weeks ago, the Strawberries that we will harvest in 2014 still look completely dormant so it appears that we will have a very late harvest season like last year.

2013 Strawberry Report

June 21, 2013:  Today was our last strawberry picking day but raspberries are still at their peak.

June 18, 2013:  Customers seem to be doing better on our later ripening Cabot than I had expected.  Cabot Berry flavor is excellent.

June 16, 2013:  The strawberry season is approaching an end sometime this week.  Picking for Monday will be typical end-of-the-season conditions with smaller berries and the necessity to sort thru the berries that were spoiled by the excessive rains over the last two weeks.  There are lots of good berries still available, however, for pickers willing to look a little harder.

June 14, 2013:  Strawberry picking is in its final few days.  There is still good availability of berries on the later, lower level Cabot but size is only medium now. 

June 8, 2013: We had a very, VERY, busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but still have lots of the larger size Cabot and L'Amour available for picking on Monday.   I'm still eating some Cabot with morning cereal that my wife picked on Wednesday and think that the flavor is better than last year---perhaps it was the cooler nights.  We picked the older, upper level Cabot on Sunday where berry size is only medium now.  The early Wendy & Galletta berries are pretty much finished for the season.

June 3, 2013: The strawberries are looking really good and the weather is made-to-order for Strawberries.  We picked the upper level Cabot Sunday & Monday and started L'Amour on Tuesday.  Size on both berries looks very good.  Our overall supply of berries for Wednesday looks excellent and we should be picking some of the largest berries of the season in the newer Cabot area near the lake.

May 30, 2013:  Strawberry picking in the Wendy and Galetta is looking very good with lots of red, ripe berries.  We had 4 busloads of school groups today and had them "test pick" the new variety, L'Amour -- they filled their pint boxes in just a few minutes without difficulty.  Size on the L'Amour looks large (but not as large as the Cabot coming up).  The berries overall seem to be holding up well in the rainy weather but (like us) they will eventually reach a limit and say "enough".

May 28, 2013:  Today was our first day of strawberry picking (until rains shut us down about 9:30 AM).  There are plenty of ripe Wendy strawberries still in good condition but our customer straw paths in the field are certainly soggy from all the rain we have had.  The on again/ off again intermittent rains conspired to make Tuesday's picking experience more difficult that I had hoped.  Winds forecast for later today and tomorrow should help dry things out. Some of the Cabot and L'Amour are starting to show some red.

May 25, 2013:  There is beginning to be quite a few totally ripe Wendy so we should be able to start picking on Tuesday, May 28.  Unfortunately, the berry size on Wendy is similar to 2012 -- much smaller than the first Cabot berries that we will be picking in a week or so.

May 18, 2013:  I saw the first sign of "red" in the south facing Wendy variety.

May 12 & 13:  Frost control irrigation was necessary to protect the strawberry blossoms -- this is very, very unusual for so late in May.  All strawberries came thru in fine shape.

May 7, 2013:  Both the Wendy and Galetta strawberry varieties are in full bloom now.  The Cabot and L'Amour are at about 20% bloom.  All varieties except the Wendy are still looking good.  Some of the Wendy leaves have a dark purple coloration that could be a potassium or phosphorus nutrient deficiency related to the cool, wet/soggy soil conditions.

April 21, 2013:  The remaining of our new Cabot plants for 2014 harvest were planted.  Growth of the earlier planting and plants that will be harvested in May continues to lag behind normal due to cooler weather.  A few very scattered blossoms in Cabot  and Wendy were observed but these "early bird" berries usually end up being eaten by the birds or frosted out.  Our projected picking start date has been moved back to May 26 which is getting close to our record late starting date of June 1 in 2008.

March 30, 2013:  Roughly of our new Cabot plants for 2014 harvest were set in ground just a little cooler and wetter than I would prefer but at least the foot of snow that fell Sunday March 24 had pretty well melted.  The Strawberries that we will harvest this year are still completely dormant -- this indicates that it will be a much later season than last year.

March 23, 2013:  We completed raking straw off the strawberry plants.  Because of the relatively mild winter, the strawberry plants seem to be in good shape again.  For 2013 we will have a modest quantity ( acre) of a new variety call L 'Amour available for those individuals looking for a more flavorful variety.

2012 Strawberry Picking Report

June 2, 2012:  Today was our last picking day for strawberries.

May 30, 2012:  While customers are continuing to find strawberries, I am starting to see too many half ripe berries in customer's boxes which means that we need to lengthen the interval between pickings to allow the berries to ripen properly.    While the size of these late season Cabot is much smaller than the first picking, berry flavor  (when picked ripe !! ) is now excellent but picking times are roughly 2 to 3X what they were during peak strawberry picking.

Friday, May 25, 2012: A very large "pre memorial day weekend" crowd coupled with lower Cabot availability in the final week of picking forced us to terminate Strawberry picking earlier than our normal closing time.  This situation will probably occur for Saturday as well.  Cabot picking for those arriving early on Saturday morning should still be good but picking after that should be typical of end-of-the-season---smaller berries and more scattered resulting in more difficult picking.

May 20, 2012:  Some drop off in Cabot size is now occurring (which is normal late in the season) but picking remains good.  We still have a good supply of Cabot available for Monday, May 21, despite a very, very busy Friday, Saturday & Sunday.   Wendy & Galetta are no longer available.

May 18, 2012:  Cabot picking continues to be good but the early varieties (Wendy & Galetta) are almost finished for the season so our overall supply of berries for this weekend will be less than last weekend (May 12 & 13).

May 14, 2012:  We had a very busy weekend (Saturday was the second busiest strawberry day in farm history)  but still have an good supply of Cabot.   Wendy & Galetta are in good supply and have excellent color but the size is now small.  The cool nights, moderate daytime temperatures, and lack of rainy weather is made-to-order for strawberries.

May 10, 2012:  Picking in the Cabot these last three days has been excellent with plenty of berries on the way but the Wendy & Galetta won't last too much longer.

May 6, 2012:  There appeared to be lots of medium sized ripe berries available for picking in the Galetta & Wendy today.

May 4, 2012:  Today was our second day of strawberry picking.  Our other new variety, Galetta, was well received by customers.   According to the customers that picked both Wednesday and Friday, Galetta's flavor was slightly superior to Wendy but still not exceptional.  A thunderstorm rolled in from the west about 10:00 AM and forced us to shut down before our normal closing time but picking was good for those who arrived early.

May 2, 2012:  Today was our first day of strawberry picking.  Our new strawberry variety, Wendy, seems to be a very pretty berry, uniform in shape but significantly smaller in size than Cabot.  Customers picking this berry felt that its flavor was good but not exceptional as I had hoped.   I would rate the flavor as similar to Cabot.  We will pick the other new variety, Galetta on Friday.

April 30, 2012:  The cooler, wetter weather of the last few days has slowed down strawberry ripening.  Ripe berries are becoming more plentiful but are continuing to ripen unevenly throughout the patch.

April 29, 2012:  We apparently dodged the very severe hail storm that damaged car windows, sky lights, and tender vegetation from Wentzville to Maryland Heights.  The strawberries and raspberries seemed to come thru in fine shape.

April 25, 2012:  It looks as if green Wendy berries suffered some cold damage Monday morning, April 23, in a lower "frost pocket" created by our erosion prevention terraces.  This means temperatures got a lot lower than both Farmer Karl & the Weather Service  had anticipated.  For some strange reason the Galetta were not impacted as severely even though they are in the same area.

April 20, 2012:  I picked enough of the new Galetta early strawberry variety yesterday for my early morning cereal today.  The flavor was excellent but the size was disappointing -- a lot like the "old standby" variety Surecrop.  The few ripe Wendy berries  I found also were smaller size than they should be.  Size on both the old and new Cabot looks excellent so I'm not sure just what caused the size problem on the new Wendy and Galetta (both of which are supposed to be "large" berries).

April 12, 2012:  We irrigated 12 hours on Tuesday night and another 12 hours on Wednesday night.  Wind and Temperatures Conditions were not remotely close those of the 2007 Easter Freeze so I am expecting good survival of both blossoms and unripe berries.  Berry size on the new Wendy strawberries look a little smaller than what I had expected but perhaps this variety "up sizes" later in the season.

March 31, 2012:  We completed planting the Cabot that will first fruit in 2013.  Later in April we will plant 2000 L'Amour a newer variety from New York State that is reported to have excellent flavor and better resistance to soil diseases.

March 22, 2012:  Some scattered blooms are evident in Cabot -- about three weeks earlier than normal so it could be a very long frost control season !

March 17, 2012:  Despite soggy soil conditions we planted about 40% of the new Cabot that will be harvested next year.

March 10, 2012:  We began raking the straw off the strawberries that will be fruited this May.  It was a very mild winter so the plants seemed to come thru in fine shape.

2011 Strawberry Picking Report

June 16, 2011: Today was our last day of strawberry picking

June 9, 2011:  We are into our final few days of Strawberry picking.  Supplies of well colored, ripe strawberries are still good but the size is smaller and picking is more scattered than it was during the peak of the season.

June 2,  2011:  With the warmer weather these last few days the Cabot are finally developing a nice deep red color.  Picking remains good --- the Cabot are obviously at their peak !

May 29, 2011:  The weather is great, berry picking is very good, and we have been open now for 8 days now without once having to shut down earlier than our normal closing time because of ripe berry supply. 

May 25, 2011:  Picking is starting to look pretty good now despite the weather.  People are picking full boxes of ripe berries in less than hour.

May 21, 2011:  Our first two days of "early bird" strawberry picking went pretty much as expected (see paragraph below).  Picking for Monday, May 23 should be good as we were closed on Sunday and the warmer weather on both Saturday and Sunday should help speed ripening.

May 19, 2011:  The weather has been anything but normal during strawberry bloom -- ranging from excessively hot to unusually cold but it looks as if the strawberries will be ready close to our "normal" opening date. With the extremes of weather during the bloom, there is a big variability in ripening from one row to the next with some rows having lots of nice, ripe berries, and others showing almost all green.  Some of the earliest berries that were ripe over the rainy weather of last weekend show some cosmetic surface "cracking" but this does not appear to be a big problem and their quality is fine.

May 15, 2011: The cold, wet drizzle of the last two days has been an annoyance to work in but the fruiting Cabot berries and plants seem to be holding up quite well in the process.  There will be a few ripe berries by mid week for my cereal but not enough to begin customer picking.

May 10, 2011:  We are starting to see some color (pink) in the early Cabot berries.

May 4, 2011: We had to irrigate 7 hours for frost control last night to protect the Cabot strawberry blossoms that will fruit later in the season.   Unplugging clogged sprinkler nozzles at 1:00 AM in the morning is definitely not much fun.  I don't think we lost any berries in the process but adding water to the already wet soil could aggravate later root rot problems.

May 2, 2011:  The Cabot strawberries are in full bloom now and look really good considering the terrible weather we have had for the last week.  Evidently the Cabot, which were developed in the cool, rainy, coastal climate of Kent, Nova Scotia, Canada feel right at home here in Missouri,  Aye ?

April 26, 2011:  Despite the miserable cool wet weather and almost daily rain for the last week or so, there are lots of Cabot strawberries now in bloom.  Some damage to blooms from the hail storms of last week is now evident on the larger blooms but I do not think it will be a significant loss.  The very cool, wet weather has been very tough on the first new Cabot plants set out over a month ago --- considerable replanting will evidently need to me made.  The cause of the new Cabot plant loss is still unknown.

April 16, 2011:  We are starting to see scattered Cabot strawberry blooms which means that the 2011 strawberry harvest season will probably start about the same time as last year.

April 10, 2011:  One block(1/3 acre) of a new early variety (AC Wendy from Canada) was planted in an area that has not had strawberries for over 9 years.  Field conditions were wet and planting proceeded very slowly.

April 3, 2011: One block(1/3 acre) of a new early variety (Galetta from South Carolina) was planted in an area that has not had strawberries for over 9 years.

March 19, 2011:  Soil conditions were even wetter than last week so we were only able to plant about 600 new Cabot.  Raking off the straw was completed in the berries that will be harvested this May and the plants appear to have come thru the winter in fine shape. 

March 13, 2011:  Soil conditions were less than ideal, but we managed to plant 2000 new Cabot transplants from Michigan that will first be harvested in 2012.  Hopefully, the cold winter of 2010-2011 will reduce the incidence of crown rot that plagued our 2009 and 2010 plantings.  The strawberry plants that will be fruited in 2011 still are totally dormant so it appears that our picking season  could be a little later than normal.

March 6, 2011: Despite the miserably cold, damp weather, we managed to rake the straw off roughly 80% of the strawberries we should  harvest in May/June.  No winter damage was evident but it won't be until much hotter weather around harvest time that the extent of crown rot fungus damage carried over from last year will be evident. 

2010 Strawberry Picking Report

June 11, 2010:  Today was our last day of Strawberry picking.

June 3, 2010:  While strawberries are smaller than they were 19 days ago, picking is still good and the supply of ripe berries seems to be keeping up with the flow of customers.  The berries are finally showing excellent color.

May 28, 2010:  We are starting to see the delayed effects of the excessive fall 2009 and spring rainfall on some of our strawberry plants located in heavier clay soils.  Some plants are completely collapsing during the hot mid day sun which leads to berry "cooking" and eventual plant death--these are classic symptoms of root rot.  How much this will cut into 2010 production and shorten our berry season is still unknown but I have adjusted our season end estimate accordingly. 

May 23, 2010:  We had a very busy weekend but customers came faster than the supply of ripe berries so we had to close our fields early on both Saturday and Sunday.  This is unfortunately very typical for weekends early in the season.  Berry picking for the weekend "early birds" was quite good.

May 19, 2010:  Strawberry picking is beginning to look pretty good and customer flow is picking up.  My estimate of May 20 thru June 5 for "peak" strawberry picking still seems "on the money".

May 18, 2010:  Scott Connell from KSDK Channel 5 was at Lakeview Farms for the 5 AM to 7 AM weather slot.  Scott provided several good tips for potential strawberry pickers.

May 15, 2010:  Today was our first day of Strawberry picking.  Despite an almost constant drizzle throughout the morning, a surprising number of customers braved the foul weather for our "early bird" picking day.  Picking still remains scattered but the berries are holding up well in the wet weather because of the cooler temperatures.  Our Cabot strawberries were developed in Nova Scotia, one of Canada's maritime provinces where the spring time weather is normally cool and rainy -- just like the last few days in St. Louis.

May 8, 2010:  We are starting to see some berries coloring up -- I picked one pint of ripe strawberries for my sister to bring back to Indiana. 

April 24, 2010:  I saw very few unopened blossoms left which means the strawberry season for 2010 will be very compressed (short) and end much earlier than normal.

April 11, 2010:  Over a week of warm weather has really accelerated strawberry growth -- a scattering of blossoms throughout the strawberry patch is now evident.  It could be our earliest strawberry season in over 10 years!

April 10, 2010: Roughly 3000 Cabot plants that should first fruit in 2010 were set today in excellent soil conditions.

March 20, 2010:  We have completed raking the straw off our strawberry plants.  Except for a few rows of Cabot that were planted perhaps a little too late in 2009, most of the plants seemed to come through the winter in good shape.  All plants still appear dormant, however, with no new growth

2009 Strawberry Picking Report

June 18, 2009:  This was our final day of strawberry picking

June 11, 2009:  We still have an good supply of strawberries despite being in the final few days of picking.  Picking is more difficult now due to the smaller berry size (which is normal) and the loss of berries due to the excessively wet weather we have had over the last few days.  Customers still seem to be finding good berries with a little extra effort.  We have been able to stay open until our published closing time of 11 AM now for the last two days !!

June 6, 2009:  Strawberry picking is still going strong and picking looks good in the later ripening Mexico road blocks but the cool, sunny weather has encouraged very heavy customer flow and we have had to close earlier than our normal closing time now for the last three days in a row. 

June 1, 2009:  We are in the peak of the strawberry season with two more weeks of picking left.  Customers are currently coming in faster than the berries are ripening and we have been closing earlier than our normal closing time but this should change quickly as our three blocks near Mexico Road reach prime picking status.

May 28, 2009:  Customers willing to endure an occasional "misting" were rewarded with some excellent picking.  This must be the year for really BIG strawberries.  Tuesday, May 26, my cousin Peg from Jackson, Michigan picked a 150 gram Cabot Strawberry. The previous record going back over 9 years was 109 grams in 2006 Today, a customer found even a bigger berry -- 171 grams!

May 26, 2009:  We are just a couple of days away from  the peak of our Strawberry season -- it looks as if my estimate of May 28 to June 10 for peak picking is right on target.  Our second strawberry field close to Mexico Road is starting to have some ripe berries and seems loaded with green berries not yet ripened.  We have had excellent customer flow these last few days-- even during the on/off drizzle on Memorial Day.

May 21, 2009:  Today was our first day of picking.   Picking was scattered as is typical for the first few days of season but the berries are starting to ripen quickly now.   I thought that the ripe berry flavor was excellent--one of the best years ever!  This may be due to the cool nights and sunny days we have had over the last week or so.

May 17, 2009:  Cabot Strawberry Plants May 16, 2009 For those of you who believe that one picture is worth a thousand words here is a picture of our Cabot Strawberries taken on May 16, 2009, to give you a better idea of berry ripening status.

May 11, 2009:  The strawberries are starting to color up -- some red is now evident.  The cooler weather of the last two weeks seems to be giving us an extended bloom period so we should have good picking thru the second week of June baring some unexpected "mother nature" event.

April 26, 2009:  Three days of warm, windy weather have accelerated development of new strawberry blossoms.   The new Cabot are roughly at 25% bloom and the older Cabot are at 5 to 10% bloom.  Assuming normal weather for the next few weeks, the 2009 season should start a little earlier than 2008.

April 15, 2009:  The cooler weather these last two weeks have slowed down strawberry growth (which is good).  Some scattered blossoms are now evident in our new Cabot area so we will need to closely monitor potential "frosty" nights for the next two or three weeks and irrigate if necessary to prevent blossom damage.

April 11, 2009:  We planted an additional 4000 new Cabot plants for 2010 harvest in very wet and cold soil conditions -- hopefully we will have better luck  than we had in 2008.

March 21, 2009:  We planted 5000 new Cabot that will be first fruited in May 2010.  Unlike 2008,  soil conditions for planting in 2009 were excellent so plants should be off to a good start.

March 14, 2009:  Straw was raked off the strawberries we will be harvesting in May.  Most plants look in good shape but the effect of wet soil conditions and late planting in the newer Cabot area was still evident (thinner plant stand).

2008 Strawberry Picking Report

June 14, 2008:  The continuous wet conditions from  Friday morning thru early Saturday morning fog further aggravated the berry spoilage of earlier rains making picking very slow and difficult.  Berry loss in our upper area is becoming  worrisome.

June 12, 2008:  Loss of our lower area for use in the normal picking rotation has put  excessive customer picking pressure on our upper area.  We are routinely closing our strawberry fields each day well before our normal closing time to prevent the upper field from being over picked.  There was some berry sunburn during the intense heat of Sunday June 8 and Thursday June 12 as high winds prevented effective irrigation but customers who are coming early in the morning seem to still to be finding plenty of good berries.

June 8, 2008:  Berry wilt is very obvious now throughout our lower level with the very high temperatures and winds.  This wilt is most likely caused  by black root rot compounded by the excessive rains this spring.   Plant vigor, berry size, and picking conditions in our newer upper level Cabot continue to look excellent but we may need to consider alternate day picking if this area does not support the current  flow of customers.

June 6, 2008:  Customers picked thru the the lower area much faster than I had anticipated and we were forced to stop letting people in the gate after 9 AM.  In the future, we probably need to give the lower area more than two day's rest between pickings.

June 5, 2008:  Excellent picking conditions, large berry size in our upper level area and we were finally able to stay open until our normal closing time of 11 AM ( a first for this season)

June 4, 2008:  This was our third day of Strawberry picking.  Our lower level had three days of rest between picking and  finally showed some good, ripe berry color.  Customers continue to come faster than the berries are ripening up and we had to close at about a hour before our normal closing time of 11 AM.  The intermittent rains of the last few days do not appear to have had a negative impact of our berry crop so far.

June 1, 2008:  Our first day of Strawberry picking was over about an hour after opening.  Customers came a little faster than I expected for a Sunday and our supply of ripe berries was low (which is typical scattered first day picking).   Cabot size appears much larger in the newer upper area.

May 27, 2008: Strawberry picking has begun (for the birds) which means opening day is not far off.  No adverse effect of the excessive rain is evident but the lower parts of our fields are still soggy.

May 21, 2008:  Still no ripe berries but some early color.

May 14, 2008: The cool, wet weather over the last two weeks has slowed down strawberry ripening -- we are probably looking at a record late starting date.

April 29, 2008:  The strawberries endured a long night of frosty temperatures but our irrigation system seemed to protect all the tender blossoms and green fruit.  The additional 1" of water sprayed on the plants was definitely not needed and (combined with the frequent spring rains) could contribute to future root rot problems.

April 27, 2008:  Our Cabot on the upper area continue to lag several days behind the lower level -- this is just the opposite of what is normal.  Our third and final block of new Cabot strawberries were planted in muddy conditions similar to last week.

April 18, 2008:  We planted two blocks of Cabot strawberries that will first fruit in 2009 -- field conditions were muddy and cold but the planting is already 4 weeks later than normal due to the cool, wet conditions we have had all spring.

April 17, 2008:  Finally!  Some warmer weather -- the first scattered strawberry blooms are evident in thinly mulched areas.

April 12, 2008:  The strawberries are continuing to come along much slower than normal due to the colder temperatures we have had over the last two weeks.

March 27, 2008:  Strawberries in all areas continue to be dormant due to the cold spring.  It will most likely be a later harvest than normal.

March 15, 2008:  Straw was removed from the mulched strawberry beds.   The lower level Cabot that were first harvested in 2007 continue to look less vigorous than the newly planted Cabot on the upper level.  Black root rot problems are the likely culprit.

2007 Strawberry Picking Report

June 3, 2007: Today was our last day for picking strawberries.

June 1, 2007:  Continued wet conditions have caused picking in our upper area to deteriorate to the point where we have closed this area for the season.  Our lower level is still in somewhat better shape but can't support every day picking by itself so we may have to move to alternate day picking.

May 26, 2007:  The intermittent rains and humid conditions of the last few days are starting to take a toll on our berries.

May 24, 2007:  This was our fourth day of Strawberry picking and the first day high customer turnout forced us to close earlier than our normal closing time of 11:00 AM.  Restricted picking will be in effect for Friday, May 25, and Saturday May 26.  

May 20, 2007:  We are getting very close to the start of strawberry season; it is becoming obvious that there is a big difference in berry size versus last year.  The size of the normally huge Cabot will be more like Earliglow and 2007 picking speeds will be much slower than 2006 because of the uneven impact of the Easter freeze -- some areas will look great and others will have almost no berries at all.

May 15, 2007: We are finally starting to see some berries begin to color up.  

May 9, 2007:  The bloom season is pretty close to wrapping up for the year so this means that it will be a pretty short season.  Some minor freeze damage is evident on a few green berries but this does not appear to be very widespread.  There appear to be a good number of green berries but berry size continues to look smaller than normal, however.  Strawberry foliage appears to be making good recovery which augurs well for next year's crop -- crown damage is minimal.

May 1, 2007:  All of the strawberry blossoms opening now appear undamaged by the Easter freeze, assuming the light growth of green foliage can support the fruiting load.  The very high temperatures of the last few days will probably advance peak picking into late May or early June and create a picking season much shorter than normal. 

April 25, 2007:  Roughly half the strawberry blossoms that are opening now appear to be OK.  This means that we should have a modest crop starting in late May.  We did lose roughly the first 1 or 2 weeks of production.

April 18, 2007:  There were a few undamaged strawberry blossoms open today that seemed to survive the Easter freeze; this is a good sign that we could possibly have a modest strawberry crop very late (June) in the season.  Almost all of the blossoms that are currently opening now have been damaged by the freeze, however.

Freeze Damaged Strawberry April, 2007April 10, 2007: Five straight nights of subfreezing temperatures have taken their toll on our strawberry crop for 2007.     All strawberry blossoms that had begun to emerge for the strawberry crown have been killed.   There may possibly be some slower-to-develop strawberry plants left so it still possible that we could have a light crop late in the season.  Fortunately,  there appears to be no crown damage on either the "fruiting" or newly set strawberry plants so far. 

While irrigation is usually successful under normal frost/freeze conditions, the strong gusty winds and low wet bulb temperatures during the coldest period, late night and early morning, create a situation where evaporative cooling and root rot caused my the excessive water usage  can cause more damage than not irrigating at all so no irrigation was attempted except for the night of April 5.  

April 7, 2007:  Last night's temperatures close to 20 F at ground level with strong gusty winds of 15 to 25 MPH for several hours caused significant damage to both strawberry blossoms and unopened flower buds and we still have two more nights of freezing temperatures forecast for Saturday and Sunday night.

April 1, 2007: We are starting to see scattered strawberry blooms (much too early for my comfort)

March 24, 2007:  The warmer weather these last few days has "told" the strawberry plants to break dormancy and start to grow. 

March 17, 2007:  4000 New Cabot strawberry plants that will first fruit in May 2008 were planted today amongst falling snow in 35F weather.  A bone chilling day for workers but excellent weather for the newly set strawberry plants !

March 10, 2007:  Straw was raked off the still dormant strawberry rows -- winter kill to the leaves looked much more severe than normal.  I have not yet checked strawberry crowns for damage to this year's flower buds.

2006 Strawberry Picking Report

June 10, 2006:  This was our final day of strawberry picking.  Strawberry picking was very difficult but customers coming early and willing to work a little harder were rewarded with some of the deepest red and best flavored Cabot of the season even though berry size was significantly smaller than earlier in the season.

June 5, 2006:  The rains of the last few days have been very rough on our strawberries.  Ripe  berries exposed to moisture for a prolonged period are subject to cracking and spoilage.  There are still lots of good berries but customers must be selective which makes picking slower than I would like to see.   Our supply of berries for the remainder of the season appears to be inadequate  for the current flow of customers so it is likely that we may need to close earlier than our normal closing time each day.

May 30, 2006:  Strawberries are now at their peak and picking was the best of the season so far.  We ended Tuesday picking  at our normal closing time (12 Noon) and have an excellent supply of berries for tomorrow.

May 29, 2006:  We had record setting crowds for  Memorial Day so check out lines were longer than I would prefer.  With the warmer weather the berries are finally beginning to show good color and ripen up nicely.   Intermittent irrigation during the hot afternoons of May 28 and May 29 was necessary to prevent berry sunburn and "cooking".

May 27, 2006:  Rachel picked a new record setting Cabot strawberry --- 109 grams.

May 24, 2006:  With the warmer nights ripe strawberries are looking more plentiful now -- we were  able to stay open to our normal closing time of 12 noon for both Monday and Wednesday.  We did incur some sunburn injury on Sunday, May 21, and slugs and birds continue to be a problem on ripe berries so our overall berry supply is not yet up to normal levels.  Post cards to customers who picked last year will all be mailed out  and should be received by this weekend.

May 20, 2006:  Our first Saturday open -- Customers came out early in droves and all the ripe strawberries were pretty well picked by 8 AM. and the strawberry patch closed early.  We will close all day Sunday to give the Strawberries a chance to ripen up better.  It still looks like the peak of the strawberry season will be that last week in May and the first week of June when the berries will literally "jump in your box".  Jump in the box Strawberry

May 18, 2006:  The cooler weather is slowing down ripening of the berries but Isabel  Kramer managed to  pick the largest berry ever found at Lakeview Farms -- 99 grams!

ay 16, 2006:  We opened for strawberry picking today in the Darselect variety. Although the weather this last week or so has been very cool with spotty showers, the strawberries seem in pretty good shape.  It is very early in the harvest season so the ripe berries are a little more scattered than they will be in a few days but this is normal.

May 7, 2006:  We are starting to see some scattered red berries so this confirms that our strawberry season will be a little earlier than normal.  Both Cabot and Darselect seem to be ripening on the same schedule -- the Darselect appear loaded with berries !  The cool weather of the last week is "made to order" for strawberries.

April 27, 2006:  Both the Cabot and Darselect are in full bloom now.  The Darselect continues to look better than the Cabot which may be due to grubs (the same critters that chew on your grass roots) or possibly winter injury.  We have even had mice/voles take up residence in some our nicely mulched strawberry rows and cause extensive damage with their tunnels--this is very unusual for strawberries and more of a problem in fruit trees.

April 13, 2006:  We are starting to see some scattered blooms in both the Cabot and Darselect which means the strawberry season will be a little earlier than last year.

April 11, 2006:  The cooler weather of the last few weeks has slowed down strawberry development but the warmer weather forecast for this week could change things.  The older Darselect and Cabot look good but the 2005 planted Cabot still look a little thinner than they should be for this time of the year.  There have been a few scattered blossoms in poorly mulched areas but these were pretty well frosted out last Sunday morning

March 15, 2006:  Some of the Darselect seem to be breaking dormancy -- slightly ahead of last year

March 12, 2006:  We completed planting 3400 new Cabot strawberry plants for 2006.  Unless something changes, we will harvest exclusively Cabot in 2007 with roughly half located in our lower level that is usually reserved for pumpkins & corn.  Some expansion of lower level parking could be required and our 2007 harvest season will start a few days later than normal since we will have eliminated our earlier variety, Dar Select.   I have heard some favorable reviews of a new variety called  L'Amour from Cornell so we may plant a few of these for trial harvest in 2007.

March 4, 2006:  Straw was removed from the strawberry rows today -- there appears to be some winter damage to the new Cabot planted in 2005 but it is still too early to tell for sure.  The older Dar Select and Cabot seem to have survived the winter in excellent shape, however.

2005 Strawberry Picking Report

June 14, 2005: The heavy rains of the last few days were evidently very tough on the berries and picking was very difficult so we were forced to closed a few days earlier than expected.

June 10, 2005: While strawberry size has gone down in all four varieties, berry color and flavor has improved with the warm sunny weather we have had for the last few days.  Our berry supply situation still looks excellent!  Fortunately, we missed all of the heavy rains that hit the St. Louis City area yesterday and conditions remain dry (except when we irrigate).  

June 1, 2005: Today we had record strawberry sales for a weekday -- only slightly less than the Saturday before Memorial Day.  Picking continues to be good and the cool, dry weather is what a strawberry grower would order (if he could).  Cabot size is still very good but Darselect, and Mesabi are now only  medium sized.  The size of Mira, for some unknown reason continues to run smaller than it should but these berries look exceptionally pretty.  Mesabi continues to display a very pretty dark color and excellent flavor but we have only three rows left from 2005.

May 27, 2005:  We started with what looked like a good supply of strawberries for the day but our customers evidently wanted to get a head started on the memorial day weekend and we had to close off picking for the day by about 10:00 AM.  Today was the first picking for Cabot and they looked great!   We set aside a large area (which includes a block of unpicked Cabot) for picking tomorrow, Saturday, May 28, so the people that arrive early should find some pretty good picking.  The Cabot size is really HUGE -- Darselect and Mira size is now medium.

May 25, 2005:  The weather was ideal, berry picking was great, and the flow of customers  just right for the supply of berries -- this combination almost never occurs!  We picked Mesabi for the first time this year and I regret having plowed up a whole block last year after its disappointing performance under the wet  2004 conditions -- this berry looks and tastes really good (unfortunately we have only three rows left).  Darselect is at its peak right now and is our main picking variety.   Our first picking of Mira confirmed my suspicions on berry size -- the Mira are significantly smaller than the Darselect.  Cabot is starting to color up and we may be able to pick this variety over the Memorial Day weekend.  There are some REALLY big Cabot out there in the field.

May 23, 2005:  The "Show Me St. Louis" people from Channel 5 were at our farm -- this will air Tuesday, May 24 at 3:00 PM.

May 21, 2005:  Today was our first day of strawberry picking.  Although picking was scattered ( which is typical of first day) it looks like the Darselect will be ripening up real well for some good picking on Monday May 23.  Darselect flavor is similar to last year -- mild & less tart (acidic) than a berry like Earliglow.  Berry size and color on Darselect look good.  The Cabot, Mira, and Mesabi are still a few days away from being ripe.  

May 11, 2005:  The hot weather of the last few days is really moving the strawberries along -- no freeze damage is evident  from the nights of May 4 & 5.

May 4, 2005:  The cool, frosty weather of the last few days have forced us to irrigate several nights now to protect the tender strawberry blossoms.  Darselect, Mira, and Mesabi are in full bloom and Cabot is getting close.

April 19, 2005:  A four strawberry varieties (both midseason and late) are roughly at 10% bloom.  Size on Cabot & Darselect looks good but our 6 "test rows" of Mira may be small again like last year.  

April 12, 2005:  We are starting to see scattered strawberry blooms throughout the strawberry patch in areas that were poorly mulched or blown off by wind.  Frost protection will probably be needed for the next three weeks.   

March, 30, 2005:  The strawberries are FINALLY starting to break dormancy and beginning to leaf out. 

March 21, 2005:  We have removed the straw from all the strawberry beds now.  The plants seem to have made it thru the winter in good shape but still appear dormant due to the cooler weather we have had for the last few weeks.   Our 2005 season will probably be a little later than normal unless we have some very warm weather in the next month or so.  

2004 Strawberry Picking Report

June 12, 2004:  Today was our last day of strawberry picking.

June 9, 2004:  There is still some scattered picking of Mira and Cabot available  but I am not sure what impact the rains today will have on berry quality for picking on Thursday.  Call Thursday morning for a report.

June 5, 2004:  We are into our final week of strawberry picking now.  Darselect is finished but Mesabi is finally starting to look good.  Customers picking today actually preferred Mesabi, our latest berry, over Cabot. 

June 4, 2004:  We still have a fair supply of strawberries but the picking ( for customers who waited for ideal weather ) will be a little more challenging  because of larger crowds and fewer berries.  

May 28, 2004:  The continued rainy weather is finally taking a toll on our strawberries -- particularly Mesabi.  Picking is slower because of the need to sort out berries that have soft spots due to excessive rain. I would estimate that about 50% of the ripe Mesabi today had some sort of water damage.  The Cabot and Darselect seemed to be holding up a little better.

May 25, 2004:  Despite the rainy weather, we starting to see some of the best picking so far this season with all four varieties showing excellent color.  Our supply of berries going into tomorrow's picking (Wednesday) looks excellent.  While there are a few berries spoiled by the wet weather, picking today was some of the best picking so far this season.  

May 21, 2004:  Customers are coming a little faster that the berries are ripening up (which is not that unusual for early in the season) and we have had to close earlier that our schedule  for the first time this season.  Darselect picking has been excellent but Mira and Cabot are still not as ripe as I would like to see.   Customers seem to think that the best tasting berry is Mira but I am a little disappointed about the Mira size which (to me)  looks no better than Earliglow.  Our first picking on Mesabi will probably me tomorrow (Saturday) -- the Mesabi size looks good but the berries have been very slow to ripen so far.

May 17, 2004:  Today was our first day of picking.  Picking in the Darselect was typical of first day --- some rows were pretty good; other rows were pretty scattered -- but customers were generally seemed to be doing pretty well.  Darselect size was good but berry flavor, while good,  does not compare with Earliglo.  The Mira and Cabot are ripening pretty fast and we may be able to pick some tomorrow (Tuesday) or Wednesday at the latest.  Mesabi looks like it will not be ready until this weekend (at the earliest). 

May 12, 2004:  It looks as if all four varieties of  strawberries are just about finished blooming -- this means that we will have a much shorter than normal harvest season.   Don't miss out!

May 11, 2004:  There are some advantages to being a strawberry farmer -- you get first dibs (sharing with the birds of course) on the first strawberries to ripen up.  Here are some of the first Darselect that will go into my Wednesday morning cereal.  First DarSelect Strawberries May, 2004   Except for those people that prefer a very tart (acidic) berry like Mira, most customers will think that Darselect is a very good tasting berry.

May 3, 2004:  All four strawberry varieties are now in full bloom so peak picking will probably be that first week of June.  Darselect size should be excellent.  We have seen lighter colored green foliage on Mesabi and are not quite sure what this means.  Since Mesabi was developed in Minnesota,  it should love the cold, wet weather we have had for the last few days.

April 22, 2004:  We are starting to see some Cabot blooms which means all four strawberry varieties will be in full production for the Memorial Day weekend.  Since this is their second year of production, berry size may be a little smaller than last year.  Last month (March) we planted another acre of Cabot which will fruit in 2005.  

April 17, 2004:  The exceptionally warm weather of the last few days is really speeding up the blooming process and I have had to move our expected opening day ahead by several days.  Mesabi is at roughly 10% bloom and Darselect is at 5%.  Just a  few Cabot & Mira blooms are evident yet.  Darselect size should be excellent but Mira may be a little disappointing sizewise. 

April 14, 2004:  We had a good frost last night but running the irrigation system from midnight to 7:30 AM prevented any damage to the very tender strawberry blossoms. 

April 11, 2004:  We are starting to see a few scattered blooms in the Mesabi, Mira, and Darselect.  These strawberries from these early blooms usually end up frosted out, eaten by the birds, or used in Farmer Carl's breakfast cereal.

March 25, 2004:  The very late Cabot Strawberries are just starting to break dormancy -- right on a schedule similar to last year.

March 20, 2004:  It looks as if the Darselect strawberries are just starting to break dormancy -- right on schedule.  Winter survival on all varieties looks good and seasonal timing should be normal.

2003 Strawberry Picking Report

Friday, June 20, 2003:  Tomorrow will be our final day of Strawberry picking.  While there are still a few berries left, they will be scattered and take much longer to pick.  Berry size is medium and both color and flavor remain good.

Friday, June 13, 2003:  It has been a very rainy, misty, foggy week here at Lakeview Farms.  While there is still a good supply of Allstar and Cabot Strawberries, the weather has been very tough on the high sugar content ripe berries which tend to split/crack when wet for a long period.  These split/cracked berries are then prone to turn to mush or rot so you must be fairly selective with the berries that you pick which slows down overall picking.  Click her for a picture of a box of berries picked today by two young girls, Jessica & Brianna.  On Thursday, June 12, we had a gentleman drive up looking for berries already picked but since all of our berries are Pick-Your-Own we were ready to send him out the gate.  One kind, "Good Samaritan" strawberry picker offered to let the gentleman take her berries -- click here for Margaret & Gene's picture

Friday, June 6, 2003:  It has been a very busy week at Lakeview Farms.  The big Cabot strawberry is now at its peak and the Allstar is still loaded with berries.  Earliglow is still available but slower picking because of its small size.  Once again because of rains on Friday we are going into Saturday with an excellent supply of berries.

Friday, May 30, 2003:  the sprinkles this morning held down the customer count so we are going into Saturday morning, May 31 with our best supply of berries all season.  Earliglow size is typical of third week picking -- small -- but customers still seemed to be doing pretty well today.

May 25, 2003:  Customers were able to pick the huge Cabot for the first time -- almost all the customers thought they were great but I still feel that the flavor is not nearly as good as Earliglo!  Earliglo berry size is small now ( which is typical for the second week of picking ) so it takes almost twice as long to pick a box of Earliglo as a box of Allstar which is now at its peak.  Customers are still coming faster that the berries are ripening up so we had to shut down again by mid morning.  

May 23, 2003: I picked a few ripe Cabot to get a better picture for our web site click here to see it -- THESE BERRIES ARE REALLY HUGE  !!

May 22, 2003:  We picked Allstar for the first time this year.  This is the best I have seen Allstar look in a long time. 

May 21, 2003:  We had a very large customer turnout for picking Earliglo today.  Click here for some cute pictures of three mother's helpers and what they "helped" to pick ( load time is 1 minute ).  

May 17, 2003:  We opened for "early bird" picking on Earliglo today.  Customers seemed to do better than I had expected and were picking about 10 lb. trays in roughly a hour or so which isn't too bad for opening day.  Roughly 20 to 30 customers came before the light rain started at 11:30 AM.  The Allstar is coming on fast and should be ready for picking toward the middle of next week.

May 13, 2003:  I picked four pints of Earliglow in about 15 minutes for my breakfast cereal -- the flavor was great but the size may be a little smaller than normal.  

May 4, 2003:  Both Allstar & Cabot are now in full bloom -- both look really good!

April 27, 2003:  The Earliglo is now in peak bloom.  Both Allstar and Cabot are showing scattered bloom.  Judging from the size of the blooms, the Cabot should be really good sized but the Earliglo could be slightly smaller than last year.

April 16, 2003:  The Earliglo strawberries are starting to bloom -- this means we could have a few scattered strawberries by May 16.  The Allstar and Cabot look pretty close to bloom which means we may have all three varieties going by Memorial Day.  

March 20, 2003:  The strawberries are starting to break dormancy as we rake off the excess straw.  All varieties seemed to survive the winter in good shape.  The new large late variety, Cabot, did not runner (spread) well  so the row width in some places is a little narrower than I would prefer.