NJ Strawberry Season Threatened by Heat [AUDIO]
New Jersey farmers are happy the recent heat wave was short-lived. A few more days of extreme temperatures could have meant a quick end to an already-late strawberry season.
It had been cooler than usual to start the spring, so the sensitive crop began popping up a little later and slower than normal.
"This year, we started picking around the second or third week of May, and we'll probably see strawberries for another week or so," explained Al Murray, New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture.
That means farmers have about a month to pick as many fresh and juicy strawberries as possible; with the wrong weather, the numbers could be very low.
"If this weather went more than a few days of 90 degrees, the season would have been over," Murray continued.
Some strawberries were decomposed on the vine due to the weather, but plenty hadn't matured yet, meaning the heat couldn't do much harm.
"With strawberries, they don't all come out at once," Murray said. "You pick that patch several times during the month."
The hotter temperatures were welcomed by other crops, though, such as tomatoes and sweet corn.
Murray advised shoppers to get a 'Jersey strawberry' while they can, noting that New Jersey's brand is made for eating; other strawberries are made for shipping.