April 1st Berries?

Every few years, April 1st falls on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and I get a chance to play an April Fool’s prank on Terra Firma subscribers.  Some of you may remember the time I declared that out of frustration with the weather (which at the time was cold and wet) we were going to move our tomato growing to Mexico.
There’s always a fine line with April Fool’s jokes.  Very few people enjoy getting soaked by a bucket of water thrown from a window.  But to the person throwing the water, it is absolutely hilarious.  My dad loved that practical joke in particular.
Some people would consider it mean and cruel for me to announce, for example, that today is opening day of our 2015 Strawberry Season.  Terra Firma subscribers know that we rarely have ripe berries before the end of April. Last year was the earliest ever that we have put them in your boxes, and that was April 15th.
Only a mean-spirited jerk would get people’s hopes up about strawberries, only to have them dashed when they opened their boxes and went through the items one by one to find…no berries.
Happily, that won’t happen on this particular April Fool’s Day, although I won’t make any promises about the future.  It turns out that four-year droughts and incipient climate change do actually have at least one benefit, however small.
Not only do we have berries in the boxes for everyone this week, they were actually harvested yesterday — technically still in March.  And we have been harvesting small amounts for a full week.  This is by far the earliest we have ever picked ripe berries.
The berries also taste quite good — no joke.  Most years the early fruit is lacking in flavor and sweetness, but the very warm weather last week took care of that problem.
If there’s a downside to great tasting strawberries in early April, it’s that the season will likely end early as well.  The varieties of berries we grow are so-called “June-bearers”, meaning they begin fruiting in the spring and stop once summer arrives.  Temperatures above 90 degrees for more than a few days in a row trigger this change.  Our strawberry season averages about six weeks, but some years lasts only a month.  This year I’m guessing five weeks but would be happy to be proven wrong.
As soon as we have a few more berries, we will increase the amounts in your boxes (Medium and Large) and offer half-flats for sale through the web store.


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