Visiting the local U-pick strawberry farm is a favorite childhood memory for many Minnesotans.
The task, at times, could be hot and buggy. Yet the rewards of enjoying a few fresh-picked berries along the way were a well-deserved treat.
The 2020 Minnesota Grown Directory listed more than 30 strawberry farms, down from 75 in 2019.
Growers have had their challenges with strawberries over the past decade due to wetter, more humid summers and the arrival of the spotted wing drosophila (SWD), an invasive small fruit fly.
According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, raspberries have been the hardest hit crop. Other host crops that occur in the state susceptible to the pest, besides strawberries, are blackberries, blueberries, grapes, plums and cherries.
SWD will also attack wild berries such as elderberry and buckthorn. These hosts could serve as a reservoir.
Research continues to find ways to control this pest and others in our fruits and vegetables.
Now, on to raspberry season!