Farmers expecting good strawberry harvest

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Estonian strawberries on sale at Balti Jaam Market in Tallinn in summer 2020. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

After last year's crisis, strawberry farmers are expecting a good harvest: the warmer than average weather has ripened the fruit and there is no labor shortage.

Kadri Nebokat, the owner of Laari Farm, said the situation is better compared to last year when farmers were not allowed to hire foreign workers. She said this year, strawberries will not go unpicked due to a labor shortage. "Compared to last year, the situation has changed dramatically," she said.

Nebokat said, despite the current good weather, the cold spring has shortened the growing season this year but she is optimistic. "In my opinion, the strawberries will be good and the season will be short," she said.

"As the season started this week and at the end of the week the fields will start to bear fruit, the strawberry season will be somewhere between two and three weeks [long]. The best price-quality ratio for strawberries is probably around Midsummer's Day." 

Last year, strawberry farmers struggled to find pickers as the government banned farmers hiring labor from abroad, blaming the coronavirus crisis.

Kärt Karhunen, co-owner of a popular berry farm, said this year his farm has hired berry pickers both locally and from abroad.

Karhunen is convinced Estonian strawberries are of higher quality than foreign strawberries as fewer pesticides are used, even when compared with berries from other EU counties.

"The second reason is that we grow strawberries in fields. For example, Greek berries are generally grown in a greenhouse. Rested and high-quality soil provides vitamins, strawberries grow better. The third reason is our weather and long days. Compared to the south, the days are longer and the strawberry gets more Sun," he said.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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