Satnam Dheensaw, whose family owns Gobind Farms in Central Saanich, here seen with his four-year-old daughter Simria, says 2019 has been a bumper year for strawberries. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Central Saanich strawberry farmer reports bumper crop

Strawberry season could last well into October

Southern Vancouver Island residents looking for locally grown strawberries should be in for a treat.

Satnam Dheensaw, whose family owns Gobind Farms in Central Saanich, says he is having a bumper crop.

“You should be able to find local strawberries in every grocery store right now,” he said. “If they are not there, well, there is a problem. So ask your store manager, your produce department, if they have local berries.”

Customers can also pick up strawberries at Gobind Farms itself.

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The strawberry picking season started on May 22 and Dheensaw predicts that it will continue until mid-to-late October, depending on the weather. In one year though, his farm picked strawberries into early November, he said.

Gobind Farms grows strawberries on 14 of its 90 acres, picking anywhere between 1,500 to 2,500 pounds of strawberries per day over the course of the growing season. This said, the daily harvest can exceed the upper range, especially early in the season, approaching 3,000 pounds per day.

Doing some rough calculations on the spot, Dheensaw said Tuesday that anywhere between 7,000 and 8,000 pounds could be picked right now.

So what accounts for the bumper crop? Despite some rain in July, the growing season has been good, he said. “The growing season has been good, the weather has been good, it hasn’t been overly hot. We haven’t had any serious heat waves. That damages all the fruit.”

Depending on the season, strawberries account for about 60 per cent of the fruit production at Gobind Farms with fruit accounting for 50 per cent of all production.

Demand for strawberries is generally higher in the summer when the weather is warmer, but the return of school could lead to another bump in demand, he said.

Looking at the provincial picture, figures show British Columbia produced 1,299 metric tonnes of strawberries in 2017, a drop of 3.1 per cent relative to the average. This drop raised the price of a kilo by 20.3 per cent to $4.09.


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