Strawberry Prices Could Go Up After Floods
Customers could pay more for Louisiana strawberries in the coming months after strawberry fields were hammered by two historic floods this year. Heather Robertson and her husband own Johndales Farm in Ponchatoula. Robertson says because strawberries are a specialty crop, there’s not much financial assistance, and a lot of producers will not grow strawberries again.
“You’ve really got to love doing it, especially when you flood in March and you lose your crop and then this is even more work on top of that, and it’s hard. It’s hard to be a strawberry farmer,” Robertson said.
Robertson says they’re trying to get their fields ready to plant by late September or early October, but there’s a lot that has to be done. She says they have to mix sediment into the wet soil, like a cake mix, with a big disc on a tractor.
“It’s just day after day after day out there disking everything, going over it, trying to get everything mixed together and get your rows made. We’ve got to get our plastic down. We just have a lot to do,” Robertson said.
Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says Tangipahoa parish is the center of strawberry production, and it was hit by both floods. Robertson says flooding last March ruined the 2016 crop and the flooding in August is making it very difficult to get a crop ready for next year.
“It’s hard to get in the fields when they’ve been so inundated with water. They’re wet, wet, wet. So you kind of have to let your fields dry out, and then in between that we’re getting these evening showers almost every day,” Robertson said.