Jose Lopez picks and pack strawberries ahead of the opening of strawberry season at Biringer Farm on Thursday in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Jose Lopez picks and pack strawberries ahead of the opening of strawberry season at Biringer Farm on Thursday in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Strawberry season gets a sweet start

Saturday marks the beginning of Biringer Farm’s strawberry sales and Marysville Strawberry Festival

MARYSVILLE — Berry lovers take heed: The long, cold winter absent of fresh, ripe strawberries has reached its end.

Biringer Farm strawberry season commences Saturday and with it begins Year 71 of berry prominence for the family delivering the succulent fruit.

“Strawberries are the most popular fruit. People love them,” said Dianna Biringer, owner of Biringer Farm with her husband Mike. “A lot of people won’t eat other berries unless they are Biringers. That means a lot. We are one big family when it comes to taste in berries.”

After three generations, the family that began as chicken farmers with Mike Biringer’s parents, now boasts a far-reaching reputation in the berry business.

Dianna Biringer is known to many as “The Strawberry Lady.” The couple’s daughter, Melody Biringer, holds a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest strawberry shortcake.

“The community has supported us, I am just amazed,” Dianna Biringer said. “On my Facebook, people have been writing that worked for us in the ‘60’s. … They’re telling us that we taught them how to work and they have a good work ethic and they feel a part of us and that is very humbling.”

Jose Lopez carries empty flats to workers picking strawberries ahead of the opening of strawberry season at Biringer Farm on Thursday in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Jose Lopez carries empty flats to workers picking strawberries ahead of the opening of strawberry season at Biringer Farm on Thursday in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Originally beginning their operations on Spencer Island between Everett and Marysville, the farm now resides in Arlington with 60 acres of crops off Highway 530 at 59th Avenue NE.

Providing a reprieve from the city, Biringer Farm offers trolley rides to the fields, a large covered wagon, play equipment for kids and, of course, u-pick fruit options.

“We just try and keep it simple, and the people love it,” Dianna Biringer said.

Courtesy of an early variety of summer strawberries, the Biringers are getting a jump on the season with their opening for both u-pick or previously harvested strawberries.

The farm’s other berries, including strawberry varieties, raspberries, blueberries, tayberries and black caps, have yet to ripen.

“Mother Nature is our boss and we work for her, so we kind of go by what she says,” Dianna Biringer said.

Field boss Keith Woodard uses a plexiglass sheet to make sure a flat is low enough to stack another on top without crushing the strawberries inside at Biringer Farm on Thursday in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Field boss Keith Woodard uses a plexiglass sheet to make sure a flat is low enough to stack another on top without crushing the strawberries inside at Biringer Farm on Thursday in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Weather determines much of the Biringer business, but this year’s timing is impeccable as Marysville’s Strawberry Festival also begins Saturday with the Berry Run and Kid’s Day kicking off the week-long event.

Even now, as the Biringer family recently moved away from Spencer Island, they have no interest in missing the festival’s hallmark event, the annual Twilight Grand Parade in its 88th year.

When the parade begins next weekend, at 7:45 p.m. June 15, the Biringers will be right where they belong, among the flotilla, riding in a trolley normally used on the farm, celebrating “The Strawberry City” where for so many years the family planted its roots.

“It’s like when you go back home,” Dianna Biringer said.

A strawberry hangs ahead of the opening of strawberry season at Biringer Farm on Thursday in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A strawberry hangs ahead of the opening of strawberry season at Biringer Farm on Thursday in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Bounties of Biringer berries also can be found at berry barns in Marysville and Lynnwood.

Both stands opened in recent days. In Seattle, Melody Biringer runs a stand near the Space Needle.

For daily updates on the readiness of all berries, go to www.biringerfarm.com.

Ian Davis-Leonard: 425-339-3449; idavisleonard@heraldnet.com. Twitter: IanDavisLeonard.

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