It’s strawberry season, but where are all the berries in western Washington?


A cold, wet spring delays the annual harvest.

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — As organizers staged the first Marysville Strawberry Festival in three years on Friday, vendors found themselves pondering the unthinkable.

“Well, hopefully there are enough strawberries for people to come around and eat them. That would be good,” said Joe Sahli, who operates Faultline Rocks and Minerals.

Cold, wet weather has delayed the strawberry harvest this year by about two weeks.

It should be high season at Bailey Farm in Snohomish and their five acres should be filled with people picking their own berries. Instead, the farm is closed; the fields are empty and you are lucky to find a single ripe berry.

You could call it “strawberry fields for later”.

“I’ll be fine,” Elizabeth Bailey said of the farm. “People are just going to have to wait. I wish we could be open, but you never know with the weather.”

Back at the Marysville Festival, most traditional events will continue as usual, but there will be few, if any, fresh strawberries available. There will always be plenty of strawberry shortcake, but it will be made with frozen fruit.

Then there is the question of the weather. More cold and rain are expected.

However, after two years of COVID-19 restrictions, vendors are just happy to be here.

“You always learn a little more every time it rains,” Sahli said. “Just step back into your tent a bit more and have an extra cup of coffee.”

The festival has been a tradition in Snohomish County for 90 years. It has only been canceled twice. The other time was for World War II.

Festival president Gail Frost said there will be no stopping her this year.

“I don’t think anything can stop the crowd,” Frost said. “I don’t think anything can stop kids from coming to the carnival. People are so excited about it. You can’t stop the Strawberry Festival just because there are no strawberries. “

LOOK: Western Washington farmers face challenges with heavy rains

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