Mild spring brings bounty of early strawberries to South Sound stands

You can get them now: Johnson Berry Farm opens on Wiggins Road in Olympia

ahobbs@theolympian.comJune 3, 2014 

South Sound farmers are gearing up for strawberry season, which starts a little early this year after a mild spring.

The Olympia Farmers Market is still a top spot for buying locally grown strawberries this summer. Johnson Berry Farm opened its roadside stand Monday morning on Wiggins

Road in Olympia, but sold organic strawberries over the weekend in a “test run” at the farmers market.

Strawberry season typically lasts about four weeks, said Jim Johnson, although his farm sells the fruit all summer until the first frost. In July, Johnson and other farmers will start selling berries, including raspberries, blueberries, marionberries and blackberries.

“It’s in my blood,” said Johnson, who started his farm in 1975 and runs it with his wife, Lisa. Several of Johnson’s relatives are berry farmers in the Puyallup Valley, where his great-grandfather had originally bought land from Native Americans.

Strawberry season officially kicks off the week of June 9 for Spooner Berry Farms, which has 12 U-pick locations in the area. Sue Spooner, who runs the farm with her husband, Tim, recommends checking at spoonerberryfarms.com for updated information on U-pick sites.

“The strawberries are just unbelievable this year,” said Spooner, describing them as juicy and sweet. “We’ve had kind of a mild spring. Even though it’s been wet, we’ve had warm weather.”

Rising River Farm in Rochester will bring its strawberries to the farmers market in about two weeks, said farmhand Ian Lockaby, adding that the berries are ripening and almost ready.

“When they’re nice and red all over,” he said, “that’s when it’s time.”

Strawberries are also nutritious. Strawberries have a higher combination of antioxidants than many popular fruits, according to the Washington State University Master Gardeners of Clark County, which reports that 1 cup of strawberries has 50 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 94 milligrams of vitamin C and no fat.

The U.S. produces about 30 percent — 1.3 million metric tons — of the world’s strawberries, more than any other country, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869 ahobbs@theolympian.com

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service