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Berry picking season is on schedule, with some farms possibly opening by the long weekend

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While it might feel like the berry picking season is behind schedule compared to 2023, one U-pick farm notes everything is going according to plan and farms should be opening soon.

Angie Cormier, the co-owner of Cormier's Berry Patch and the executive director of the Prairie Fruit Growers Association, said the heat Manitoba got last spring resulted in the berry picking season coming sooner. Whereas this year, the cooler weather has allowed for a more normal start time.

"We are in the range of normal for when picking is going to start," said Cormier.

"We've got haskap berries, which are also called honeyberries, they have just started picking those now, and then strawberries. Some farms will be ready probably this weekend, this long weekend and then most farms will start after that."

Once the strawberries are in season, they will be followed by Saskatoon berries, raspberries and then sour cherries, Cormier said.

When it comes to the strawberries, she notes the cooler weather has actually been much more beneficial for them.

"The growth of berries coming out of the flowers, they don't like plus 30, which is what we experienced last year. So the cool weather, it definitely slowed things down a little bit, but all of our fruit growers are very optimistic about the season."

While the next couple of weekends appear to be when the picking will start, Cormier said the weather and the berries will be the ones that determine when picking season officially begins.

"When the berries are ready, that is really when we can open," she said. "So this week is, I believe the weather is forecasted for plus 22, plus 24, which is great. It's just allowing the fruit to grow and ripen. So we're all kind of hoping for big berries, which is what everybody loves to pick."

Cormier said berry growers are cautiously optimistic that this year will be a successful picking season, and they just have to see what Mother Nature has in store.

To see a full list of all the berries farms in the province and their operating hours, people can visit the Prairie Fruit Growers Association's website.

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