Local strawberries already are showing up in stores and roadside stands, and Snohomish County's big berry source, Biringer Farms in Arlington, has opened up its U-pick fields and its stands.
“We thought last year was early,” said Biringer Farm's Dianna Biringer. “We've never been open this early in the last 20 years.”
Typically, the strawberries are ripe and ready for picking about mid-June, she said. This year, the farm was open June 7.
“The weather has everything to do with it,” Biringer said.
Even better, the early season also means a longer season. With five varieties of strawberries with different seasons, Biringer could have strawberries available for five weeks. And crop yields and quality look good, too, she said.
Look for Biringer's stands at Walgreen's in Marysville at Fourth Avenue and State Street; at Wight's Nursery, 5026 196th St SW, Lynnwood; and at Sky Nursery, 18528 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline.
Biringer's offers a U-pick at its farm, 21412 59th Ave. NE, Arlington; expect prices a little more than $2 a pound.
More berries follow in coming weeks, including raspberries and tayberries likely around the end of June and blackberries after that.
What's the best way to enjoy the berries? Other than right off the top of the carton, Biringer recommends keeping it simple with a strawberry shortcake. You can go the baking-mix shortcake route, but she prefers shortcakes baked by Sakuma Bros. in Mount Vernon, which Biringer sells at the farm, along with cream for whipping.
And while, we're on the subject, the Marysville Strawberry Festival is June 20-21, with its grand parade, Berry Run and more.
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