Cold spring delays strawberries

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Norwegians will have to wait a while longer to taste the first of their much-loved, locally grown strawberries this year. Unusually cold weather through the month of May has delayed ripening, but growers claim it will be worth the wait.

Norwegian strawberries are considered a delicacy. PHOTO: Views and News

Many Norwegians border on being passionate about their strawberries. “Are they Norwegian?” is among the first question asked when being served strawberries early in the season. Those offering them almost feel obliged to shake their heads in shame if the berries are imported from abroad.

There’s something about the long days with lots of sunlight, the types of berries grown in Norway and the climate that make them small and sweet. Expensive, too, like most everything else in Norway, but prices fall dramatically later in the summer.

The first berries of the season are often cause for celebration, and Norwegians will pay dearly for them. Berry grower Per Saxebøl from Ås, south of Oslo, told news bureau NTB that the first berries this year likely won’t be ready before the midsummer holiday known as St. Hans on June 24.

The winter was long, the spring cold and there hasn’t been much real warmth in the strawberry fields until the past week. Growers in Nord-Trøndelag said the season will be about two weeks late this year, but claim their plants are “looking fine” and expected to yield high-quality fruit. They predict berry-picking will begin around July 15.

Only strawberries grown under so-called “plastic tunnels,” for example in Rogaland, are making their way to market now. It’s the rest of those grown in open fields that are delayed.

Views and News staff