“Once there is a blossom, it takes about 4 weeks to start seeing ripened strawberries.”
Four weeks has passed, and ripened strawberries are ready for picking at Fiddlehead Farm. Saultonline stopped by Fiddlehead Farm on Tuesday, June 29th, and toured the strawberry field with owner, Chris Robertson. Joanne and Chris Robertson have been growing strawberries, seasonal produce and tapping maple sugar trees for the past 20 years or so at their Goulais, Ontario farm; Fiddlehead Farm.
The first thing that a person will notice as soon as you pull into the farm’s driveway near the Goulais River, is the scent; Whiffs of strawberries are carried enticingly in the breeze.
“There was one day this year that we had to get out and protect the field from frost. When the strawberries are in the blossom stage, that’s when you have to really watch out. They’re very susceptible to frost when blossoming. The irrigation system gets triggered and by watering them, it helps to protect them from frost.” Chris Robertson keeps a close eye on the temperatures in springtime. It’s not unusual for this part of the geographic region to plunge into ‘frost warning’ temperatures.
For the past several years, Riel Labelle has come to pick berries at Fiddlehead Farm. At 87 years young, he said that his knees aren’t quite as willing, but his heart sure is. “It’s getting harder and harder to get down there.” he said with a smile. “My knees can’t get down so easy anymore; And when they do get down, it’s getting back up that is tricky.”
Riel’s son and daughter-in-law were visiting from Gillam, in northern Manitoba. “We don’t get strawberries like this up there”. shared Heather Labelle. Gillam, Manitoba is 300 kilometres northeast of Thompson, Manitoba, located along The Nelson River.
Robertson encourages folks to bring along a basket with them when coming out to pick berries. If you don’t have a basket, Fiddlehead Farm have buckets available for filling.
Fiddlehead Farm has over 3,000 taps in the farm’s maple sugar bush. The Maple Syrup is also for sale.
People can see what’s ripe and ready by going to The Fiddlehead Farms Blog at fiddleheadfarms
Directions: Take Highway 17N to Searchmont exit. Turn right onto Hwy 556. Just past Island Lake, take Hwy 552 (left). Travel approx 5 kms, going over a little metal bridge, and then the larger Goulais River bridge. The first driveway on the left (#1133) is Fiddlehead Farm.
Watch for the large sign, and you’ll be minutes from picking. Chances are, if the windows are down, you’ll smell the berries before you see them.