Berry good news
While the legal storms surrounding the use of methyl iodide on berries rage away, Joe and Sabrina Maddocks are entering their fourth year of certified organic strawberry production. On their 7-acre GrowRite Farms on the south side of Putah Creek, the Maddockses grow two strawberry varieties: the seascape and the Chandler. Sabrina said, “Last year, the only thing that touched our berries was rain.” The seascapes will come first, in April, and will be available Wednesday and Saturday at the Davis Farmers Market.
At Terra Firma Farm in Winters, Paul Underhill notes that strawberries are a crop best suited for mild coastal areas, and the Central Valley’s heat can take strawberries to their limits, sometimes even aborting the whole crop by mid-May. This cool spring could be the start of a good year, said Underhill, who grows mainly Camarosa and Chandler strawberries. The former is a large berry that will last in the fridge, while the Chandler—which is usually ripe by June—is smaller and far more perishable. “But most people who eat a fresh Chandler will say it’s the best strawberry they’ve ever had,” Underhill said. He labels his strawberries by variety and will be supplying them to our local food cooperatives in Davis and Sacramento as soon as the early varieties swell into ripeness this month.