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Strawberry Harvest Shaping Up Great Despite Unusual Spring Weather

Katie Thoresen/WXPR
Engelberry Farm in Merrill will open for its first day of strawberry picking Friday, June 18.

This spring has been a strange one weather wise and it’s keeping farmers on their toes.

“It started out really warm and then it went to really cold. My husband sprinkled for frost 11 days in a row. We had some ice coatings on some of the plants,” said Jeannine Matushak.

She and her husband have been growing strawberries for 30 plus years. They currently own Engelberry Farm in Merrill.

Despite the whiplash weather this spring, Matushak said this year’s harvest is looking good.

“Right now, we have a huge crop of strawberries out there that are just waiting to ripen,” she said.

Friday is the first day of the season it’s open for picking. It opened at 7:00 a.m. Hours are dependent on the number of ripe strawberries.

“I think your best picking is probably in the second week that we’re open,” said Matushak.

Matushak regularly updates thefarm’s Facebook page and phone with picking hours. She recommends calling before coming out to pick, 715-536-9091.

Credit Katie Thoresen/WXPR

While Engelberry farm is dealing with strange weather this spring, last year they had to contend with unusual times.

Matushak said two other nearby strawberry farms were closed and people were looking for activities they could do outside.

Because of the increase in customers, Engelberry Farm changed up the process slightly.

It worked so well they’re planning on doing it again this year.

“We had a flux of people come in that we were expecting on top of the covid thing. We think this year things will go a lot smoother, but we’re going to keep in the same rotation of picking up your box at one place. I think it just helped with the traffic flow and was better for the customers that were out there,” she said.

But whether it’s the unusual times or the strange spring weather, Matushak is excited to welcome pickers back to the farm again this season.

“Come out and pick fresh Wisconsin strawberries they are phenomenal in comparison to anything you can get from California or in the store, the flavor is a billion times better,” said Matushak.

Strawberry picking season typically runs from the end of June through early July.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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