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Strawberry farm hopeful for a promising season after facing pandemic struggles last year

Posted at 12:05 PM, May 12, 2021

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - You can see them, you can smell them, but best of all, you can pick these strawberries fresh off the plant at Hickory Ridge Farm.

Right now, the farm is making sure it is ready for its ninth strawberry season.

“It’s been a great season so far,” Robin Pierce, the farm’s co-owner, told News 3. “People are having a good time being outdoors, feeling safe, like they can social distance in the field and feel good about the outing."

That has been one benefit that has allowed the farm to stay open, but there have been some challenges. Pierce explained the farm lost revenue from school field trips as schools started moving virtually, but even that's making a comeback.

“This year we are scheduling school field trips,” Pierce said. “A lot of homeschoolers this year, some private schools as well. Public [schools], not yet."

The other factor guaranteeing the farm's success - no shortage of strawberry lovers.

“People love to go strawberry picking with their families,” Pierce said. "We have families that are coming out here, making it a part of their family traditions."

It's not just strawberries they offer, but a variety of other fruits, vegetables and products coming in jars, cans and boxes, all locally made. They even have some friendly animals you can pet and feed.

Pierce did offer suggestions for when you're strawberry picking. Make sure the strawberry is fully red and developed. If there are any shades of white or green, then the strawberry is not ready to be picked yet.

As to when to best pick them, Pierce suggested now because there are actually too many of them, and Pierce does not want any to go to waste.

“There’s always a certain amount of loss with the strawberry production, but the best-case scenario is we would get as many out of the field as we possibly can,” Pierce said.

Related: Virginia Beach strawberry farmers say they're optimistic for another season during the ongoing pandemic

Hickory Ridge Farm is located at 2928 South Battlefield Boulevard in Chesapeake and is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The farm is currently running a special: Buy two you-pick buckets and you will get another for free. More information can be found on their website. Click here to be redirected there.

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