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US (CT): Strawberry picking season gets an early start

In the past nine months, Mother Nature proved again to Connecticut farmers that she calls the shots.

Tropical Storm Irene, which hit the state at the end of August, finished the summer tomato and sweet corn season and the fall pumpkin crop. The freak October snowstorm decimated some orchards in the state, while the mild winter and unseasonably warm days had some folks wondering if the 2012 growing season would begin early.

"We started out four weeks ahead, but the cooler temperatures have narrowed that gap," says John Lyman III, vice president of farm operations for Lyman Orchards in Middlefield. "We're maybe a week or 10 days ahead of normal."

Lyman was referring to the dip in temperatures — even frost and freeze warnings — in March and April. "The season started off with really warm weather in March," says Rick Macsuga, lead marketing representative for the state Department of Agriculture. "Then, we had below average temperatures. Everything is kind of standing still right now."

Publication date: 5/22/2012


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