Spooner Farms opens its Yelm Highway strawberry stand today, which is right on schedule after recent warm weather helped to ripen the first batch of berries.
“The berries look great, and the hot weather made up for a cold spring,” business co-owner Sue Spooner said Tuesday.
The strawberry stand at 3327 Yelm Highway opens today, but the other Spooner Farms stands that dot the county are not expected to open until next week, she said. U-pick starts later than that, probably toward the end of next week, Spooner said. Spooner Farms has stands in Thurston County, Centralia, Aberdeen and north Seattle, she said.
As good as the strawberry season is shaping up to be, it will not prolong the South Bay Grange Strawberry Festival, which has been canceled after 73 years as a community event, past volunteer Don Whiting said Tuesday. Whiting also is a former employee of the Washington State Grange.
The festival was scheduled for June 21 at 3918 Sleater-Kinney Road, but grange members decided to discontinue the event because of rising costs and declining interest, he said. Whiting also said that the state grange convention ends only days before the festival, which makes it difficult to prepare for.
“The cost of everything keeps going up,” he said, adding that grange members were reluctant to raise prices on the strawberry shortcake and hamburgers sold at the festival.
About 250 to 300 people attended last year’s festival, and it cost about $2,500 to $3,000, Whiting said.
A grange is a fraternal organization that historically has been aligned with the interests of farmers. Formed after the Civil War, granges have supported issues such as rural telecommunications, public power and family farms. Thurston County is home to nine active grange halls, according to the Washington State Grange Web site.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403