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home : community : community July 9, 2020

4/6/2020 8:31:00 PM
It's Strawberry Season
Photo Courtesy of Lineberger's Maple Springs Farm
Photo Courtesy of Lineberger's Maple Springs Farm

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

For the first time in a decade, we avoided a late freeze that did damage to the strawberry crop.  Last year, we had an exceptionally warm January and early February, then some nights where the temp dropped to the mid-20s.  The result was a less than spectacular strawberry crop.

This year, the warm January was before the berries had begun their reproductive cycle.  It was mild in both February and March.  A dry Fall was actually beneficial for the berries, and the multiple showers in March hit them just right.  The result is a crop that Ethan Lineberger says may be the "best ever."  The plants have bigger leaves and had bigger buds and that likely will mean bigger berries.

Lineberger's Maple Springs Farm on the Dallas-Stanley Highway opened for business for the first time this year Monday afternoon (April 6th). They'll be open 9 - 6:30 Monday through Friday, 9 - 6 Saturday & 12 - 5 Sunday.

Ethan says they'll have strawberries Tuesday and early Wednesday, but they may exhaust the supply by Wednesday afternoon. Others will ripen, and they'll have more for the weekend. The U-Pick (pick them yourself) option isn't available yet--that won't happen until later in the week next week.

With the COVID-19 pandemic happening and the need to help prevent spreading the disease, Lineberger's has taken multiple steps. In their store, they put up a plexiglass shield in front of the cashier. In the fields, there are multiple hand-washing locations. Food service gloves are being supplied to their workers picking the berries they sell. "We can't afford to have our workers get sick," Lineberger said.

Something else new this year related to the need to avoid contact with other people is a drive-up option. "We'll have designated parking spaces just for that," he told us. "People can drive up, call the phone number that will be listed on the sign in front, and we'll bring a pre-selected variety to their vehicle. They don't have to get out of the car."

The selection will include seasonal product--strawberries, of course, and vegetables as they come into season. "We may offer a choice of items--different selections--if it proves to be popular, but we'll start with just one."

At Knob Creek Orchard on Highway 18 at Toluca (about four-tenths of a mile south of the intersection with Highway 27 at the Lincoln-Cleveland County line) they don't expect to have berries until after Easter, probably about April 15th.

Lineberger's family also has Berry Hill Farm in southern Lincoln County. The berries there are also a little behind the ones at Dallas, so they'll probably have berries there (on Hudson Poultry Road off NC27 in Iron Station) in another week or so.

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1 - West Lincoln Vet Reg Ad with PHOTO MARCH 19 2019

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