Spring weather taking a toll on early strawberry crops

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HENDERSON, Illinois -- If you're looking to get out and pick some strawberries this weekend, you may have a tough time finding any.

Local farmers say the spring weather has taken a toll on this year's early strawberry varieties.

"We started this in 1974, and this has been the worst strawberry year for us," said John Huizenga at Huizenga Family Farm.

Huizenga said the problem is that the first batch of strawberry plants bloomed too early, and then there was frost.

He showed News 8 a field that normally produces around 25,000 quarts of strawberries. This year, Huizenga expects to harvest about 10,000 quarts from the same field.

"It's like trying to find the golden egg," said Renee Hubble, who has been picking for the Huizenga's for 11 years. "When you find it, you're really happy."

If you find berries for sale right now, expect them to be smaller than usual.

Huizenga says strawberries that were planted later in the year are looking much better, and those should be ready within the next two weeks.

Right now, Pride of the Wapsi in Long Grove and Happy Hollow in East Moline do not have strawberries available for you-pick. Country Corner has a limited amount.

Huizenga Family Farm will be selling strawberries at farmers markets throughout the area this weekend.