Heavy rainfall cuts June strawberry season short for farmer

Ottawa County

BLENDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Between frost in the spring to unseasonably high or low temperatures during fruiting, farmers know firsthand that each season brings its own challenges. This past week’s rain was one of those.

“Each year that we grow and you produce things outside, you are very susceptible to what the weather does,” said Dale DeLange of DeLange’s Redberry Farm.

He’s been growing and harvesting strawberries in Hudsonville for 45 years and said this has been one of the more challenging years. Typically, the June strawberry harvest lasts four weeks, but that wasn’t the case this year. 

“Our season was cut short by one full week because of the 5.5 inches of rain that we received over 3 days at the end of the season.”

DeLange said it’s not that the fields themselves can’t handle all the rain, it’s the ripe fruit that gets damaged. 

“It just becomes waterlogged and the fruit becomes damaged and unharvestable.”

That means hundreds of lost pints of strawberries that would normally be sold to customers. But although DeLange could only sell and harvest 75% of his crop this year, he’s staying positive.

“We’ve had a lot of people just say we’re so appreciative for what you do, your positive attitude, your belief and your trust in God during this whole process and yeah we look at each day as a gift and we just move forward from here,” he said. 

For the DeLanges that means looking forward to welcoming customers back for the August strawberry season and hoping for a full harvest next year.

“Every year is a little different story from the previous year. I’ve never seen the perfect harvest yet but we’re hoping for it.”

DeLange’s Redberry Farm plans to reopen in early August for strawberries and red raspberries. The farm offers already picked berries from its farm market and u-pick. Customers can watch for a reopening date on the farm’s website or Facebook page

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