The season started with blossoms appearing much earlier than normal. Then the first berries were ripe a good two weeks before the usually expected first week of July. Hmmm, something doesn't seem right here considering the very cool spring and early summer we had. Why would the strawberries be early in a year like this that lacked both warmth and sunshine?
The current plants are only three years old, and I've been consistently able to keep a strawberry patch producing well for 6-7 years before needing to replant them. This year's whole harvest was like that from elderly plants that needed to be replaced.
Looking at the total poundage of berries for the past three years:
2016 - 124 lbs. 12 oz.
2017 - 117 lbs. *
2018 - 47 lbs. 12 oz.
*The total for 2017 should be a few (several?) pounds higher because the patch suffered a couple of invasions of little people who came and picked while eating their fill. (But what else are red, ripe, juicy strawberries for?)
So, looking at the comparison of the last three years . . . drat and blast, was this year's harvest downright dismal!
But you know what? It happens. And sometimes the reason for a "down" year of a particular crop cannot be discerned with any certainty.
It does make me wonder what a pick-your-own outfit or someone raising them to sell for needed income does in a year like this. It's certainly not the blow to our little homestead as it would be to folks depending on the year's income (or part thereof) from strawberries.
Bottom line, although we're disappointed in our strawberry harvest this season, there's always next year!