Great Crop, Tough Picking Conditions

SUAMICO, Wisc. (WBAY) Area farmers report one of the best strawberry crops in decades.

Picking the berries this year however, proved to be quite the challenge.

At Sunny Hill Farm in Suamico three weeks of strawberry picking is coming to a close.

"It's my husband's birthday today so I picked his berries, we'll have strawberry shortcake," says Janet Ruechel from Pulaski.

"Wife wanted a few more for another pie, supposes to get half a bucket, well I got a full bucket, that's enough," adds Buzz Ostrenga from Howard.

In 34 years of selling strawberries, Roland Bruntz has never seen a season quite like this.

"Probably the best production I've ever had," says Bruntz, who owns Sunny Hill Farm.

Bruntz quickly adds that it's also the worst picking conditions during a season he can remember.

"Very, very wet, raining about every other day, making it hard to get in and out of the driveways, making it hard to get in and pick the berries, and then you have a really good crop, and then you can't keep up with the picking and then they start to rot, and you get the picture," says Bruntz.

While not sure just how much rain fell on his 18 acres of strawberries, Bruntz won't soon forget the sloppy mess it created in his parking lots on many days.

"A tractor, a chain and hooked to somebody's care to try and get them out of here," says Bruntz.

Not enough sun on Sunny Hill means a lot of berries are going to waste this year.

What impressed Bruntz though, is how many people weathered the weather to pick their berries.

"People are really good, people are nice and we want to thank everybody that's come out and helped us out this year," says Bruntz.