Strawberry season blooming early thanks to warm winter

Strawberry season blooming early thanks to warm winter
Food and Fun

POSTED: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 1:30pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 1:34pm

Strawberry season may start earlier than ever for Northeast Louisiana. At Sal Petito's Strawberry Farm in Monroe, the evidence is blooming right on the vine.

Owner, Sal Petitio says warm winter days have confused the berries, causing them to bud weeks ahead of schedule. Early blooming may lead to early harvesting.

"Typical year we usually start around the tenth of April," says Petitio.

This year, berries could be picked as soon as mid March.

There are still a few weeks of winter to go and frigid temps could do damage to the fragile crop. To protect his crop from a late season freeze, Petitio pulls huge-white tarps over the nine acres of berries to protect them from the cold.

Besides early sale dates, Petito is hopeful that the recent warm and sunny weather may also help another way, taste. Extra sunshine is believed to produce sweeter berries.

When it comes to growing strawberries in Louisiana, Petitio says it comes down to one thing. "It all depends on the weather."

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