Local strawberry farms see busy day, despite the heat, after rainy Mother's Day leads to berry surplus

Posted at 1:43 PM, May 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-22 04:53:01-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Despite the heat, local strawberry farms were hoping to see a lot of people out this weekend.

Virginia Beach farms recently faced a surplus in berries. Many farmers told us they were hoping to make back some of their Mother's Day losses.

Pickers packed the parking lot at Vaughan Farms Saturday afternoon. Despite the hot weather, people still made it out — which is just what the farm's owners said they needed today.

Vaughan Farms and other Virginia Beach farms have been in desperate need of people to pick strawberries.

The fields have been full of ripe berries, but disaster struck when it rained on Mother's Day, typically the busiest day of the year.

Farm owner Robert Vaughan says he lost upwards of 10,000 pounds of berries.

This weekend became the do-over chance.

Vaughan said the parking lot was full early Saturday, with people trying to beat the heat.

“This is a must. This is kind of our more than break-even point," Vaughan said. "The strawberries are steady producing. We are hydrocooling them right now, which means we’re pumping water underneath them to cool the plants down. It seems to be working really well.”

Vaughan expects his strawberry season to extend into June because of how the weather worked out.

News 3 also reached out to Hickory Ridge Farm in Chesapeake. They had a busy day there too — the big concern now is that this heat will ripen the berries faster.

The time is now to come pick, with crowds like this crucial for our area’s family-owned farms.