Customers flock to the Carlton Strawberry Farm – Cloquet Pine Journal

CARLTON — Long before Spectrum Farm Strawberries in Carlton opened its rows of berries to eager pickers at 9 a.m., a line of cars stretched down Carlton County Road 4 in anticipation of another day of berry picking on Wednesday July 13.

Spectrum Farm Strawberries, located about four miles west of Hay Lake, is in its fifth berry picking season after forming a tradition with the purchase of Finke’s Berry Farm in 2017.

The farm celebrated its opening day for this year’s season on July 6, and since then customers have flocked to take advantage of the short window to get fresh strawberries.

“Someone told me we had about 400 cars, and it turned out to be a line about a mile long,” Spectrum Farm Strawberries co-owner Steve Schulstrom said in an interview. Monday, July 11. “So there were a lot of people. Everyone came up and everyone picked up in the fields in about 20 minutes. Everyone got the berries they were looking for. It’s been a really good year.

As soon as they arrive at the farm, customers are greeted by employees wearing red aprons, who guide them to where they will pick. Containers to transport the strawberries, priced at $4 a pound, are available for purchase on site, or customers can bring their own from home.

Experienced berry picker Stacy White of Duluth had an old ice cream bucket full of berries brought from her home after spending little time introducing the tradition to the next generation of her family.

Berry pickers search for fresh strawberries among rows of Spectrum Farm Strawberries on Wednesday July 13 in Carlton.

Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

“I was picking strawberries with my kids in the ’90s, and now I’m picking strawberries with my grandkids,” White said. “They love strawberries, and it’s so fun for them to see where they actually grow.”
The days to take advantage of the strawberry picking season are numbered and will probably only last one to two weeks longer. According to Schulstrom, the season usually only lasts three weeks, as temperatures and rainfall dictate its length.

Schulstrom went on to report that the season has been going well so far, especially compared to last season’s drought conditions which left a very short window to pick the fruit.

Employees give instructions
Spectrum Farm Strawberries employees assist customers Wednesday, July 13 at Carlton.

Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

“This year, we did pretty well. At first it was quite warm, but it only lasted a few days… We had good rainfall and everything is fine, so until we run out of berries, we will be picking berries. I’m planning another, I’d say 12-14 days,” Schulstrom said Monday.

With the berry-picking schedule constantly changing, Schulstrom said those who want to come to the farm visit Spectrum Farm Strawberries.

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Customers pick strawberries
Berry pickers look to fill their buckets at Spectrum Farm Strawberries on Wednesday, July 13 in Carlton.

Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

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