Essex Junction, VT — Strawberry season has kicked off and local farmers have been gearing up for Vermonters to start their annual berry-picking trips. Paul Mazza’s Farm in Essex Junction has seen Vermonters and families trickling in all day, with many walking out with several full quarts.

While farmers across the state have had to endure increased costs for fuel, they’ve enjoyed favorable forecasts. “Perfect for strawberries,” said Paul Mazza. “Getting the right amount of rain, the right amount of heat. I’m glad the temperatures are cooling.” 

Mazza said that the recent weather has helped the quality of this year’s June-bearing crop significantly, as cooler temperatures in recent months have slowed the riping process. He also mentioned that the number of berries is high, and he urges Vermonters to get out now while they can.

“We have a humungous berry crop this year. Our fields are gorgeous. We have a lot of berries. It’s a week early this year, so it ends a week sooner. If you want berries you need to come now.” 

The staple of his farm continues to be his strawberries, but with raspberry and blueberry season coming, Mazza says he and his staff take special care of all his farm’s berries throughout the summer months.

“We put a lot of time into the berries, so our berries always come out really nice. We do a lot of work, we’re always loaded.” He also says that he tries to create an environment that welcomes family memories.

“My son loves to the drive-in on the farm road and then drive to the strawberry patch, and the people here are always really friendly,” said Sarah Wagner, who was there to pick strawberries. Wagner said that she has been picking strawberries at Mazza’s Farm for years and that bringing her kids along this time around has made for a memorable year of picking.

“I feel like the strawberries here are always great. It’s always easy picking. We picked a ton of strawberries, very quickly.” 

Wagner loves the experience, but what keeps her coming back is the quality of the berries. “The strawberries are awesome; it was easy picking… it was great!” 

As Mazza said, strawberry season has come a week sooner than usual this year, but there are still about two and a half weeks left of the prime picking season. Mazza also has a stand on Poor Farm Road in Colchester, where you can buy freshly picked strawberries and other produce.