Unseasonably warm temperatures benefiting picking season for local strawberry farms

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — There have been unseasonably warm temperatures in 2023, which caused an early blooming season. The three-week early start to spring-like temperatures has been extremely beneficial for local strawberry farmers.

William Carrigan, a fifth-generation farmer at Carrigan Farms in Mooresville, told Channel 9 every growing season offers a unique set of challenges. This year, it was all about finding the perfect balance between seasons.

“When your season is only 4 weeks, an extra three weeks at the beginning really helps out a lot; we’ve not quite but almost doubled our season,” Carrigan said.

Because of the warm temperatures, Carrigan said the strawberry plants were tricked into blooming in February. Temperatures have been up a whole degree above average for the first four months of the year.

“So this season is different than last season, and they are always different; you kind of have to play the game with Mother Nature, but it was warm in February, and it tricked the strawberry plants into blooming,” Carrigan said. “It was still February and then they sent up flowers.”

Due to the flowers’ early arrival, the farmer has to act quickly to save the flowers using frost.

“We spray water on them and then the freezing of the water releases heat into the phase change between liquid into solid releasing heat, and that keeps the whole flowers right at 32,” Carrigan said.

As long as the temperatures stay close to average for the rest of the season, conditions should be favorable for strawberry growing through the end of May.

Carrigan says people who want to pick strawberries at the farm can keep with updated hours through the farm’s social media platforms. For more information on strawberry picking at Carrigan Farms, click here.

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Madi Baggett

Madi Baggett, wsoctv.com

Madi is a meteorologist for Severe Weather Center 9.