Farmers say early heat has shortened Portland area strawberry season

The quick transition from winter to summer heat this year means strawberry crops missed their prime growing period.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 8:06 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WASHINGTON COUNTY Ore. (KPTV) - It’ll be a short season for short cake, if you enjoy it with strawberries.

There are plenty of varieties of strawberries that thrive in the Pacific Northwest climate (Hood and Tillamook strawberries, for instance) but the quick transition from winter to summer heat this year means strawberry crops missed their prime growing period.

It’s the same story for most U-pick farms in our region, including Hoffman Farm Store.

SEE ALSO: Oregon Zoo welcomes 8 healthy condor chicks during hatching season

“Come May 1st, all of a sudden it didn’t turn into spring, it turned into summer,” said Jason Hoffman, whose father purchased the farm in 2008. “Hot weather, we got that 90 degrees for an extended period of time, and strawberries can handle it but the blooms can only bloom so fast.”

The heat took away a prime step in the strawberry growth cycle, reducing their usual 5-week U-pick season down to 2 weeks this year.

“Mostly this week and next week will be peak cycle,” Hoffman said.

And it’s not just them- several farms in the Portland region including Sauvie Island Farms, Columbia Farms, and Bella Organic Farm made social media posts about the delay to strawberry season this year due to the weather.

Strawberries are also smaller than normal, but Hoffman said it’s not all bad news.

“The Tillamooks and the ones that have kind of lacked in sweetening have really heightened this year,” he said, crediting the condensed growth period.

SEE ALSO: Hillsboro business donating time, materials to help those experiencing homelessness

Hoffman doesn’t foresee a loss in revenue, but it’s a chance to go back to the drawing board and re-adjust for future seasons.

“We can go back and look at records and what we’ve been doing in our minds and on paper in our notes, because we take very detailed notes of everything we do, but every season is a whole new challenge and that’s the beauty about farming,” Hoffman said.

He recommended getting out to U-pick fields as soon as possible, as the peak season only has a couple of weeks left.