Local strawberries continue to ripen despite freeze

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Eliza carries buckets of strawberries at DJ's Berry Patch (WTVD)

Darin Jones is breathing a sigh of relief today. He and his team of pickers were responsible for saving more than a million strawberries over the weekend. "My concerns were to just keep the plants where the blooms wouldn't freeze, and burn the blooms so we could still have strawberries after this episode," he said.

As temperatures dropped to the 20s early Sunday morning, Jones and his team were watering, covering, and doing everything they could to keep the fruit from freezing. "It felt good, everything went smoothly that night and so I figured it would probably be okay," he said. "It was good knowing I didn't lose any money."

Strawberries are the bread and butter of DJ's Berry Patch and Farm. He and his wife Jessica plant five and a half acres of strawberries each year at their patch in Apex. Take a stroll down the perfectly manicured rows, and you'll find three varieties for picking: Sweet Charlie, Camarosa, and Chandlers.

"I look at it as having a lot of little babies out here that [have] gotta wake up happy," Jones joked.

As he peeled the covers off of his healthy berry babies Sunday morning, he knew his hard work paid off. The berries were just fine. He credits the success to hard work and the power of prayer.

"We do pray a lot, that's for sure so that will help and just hope for the best and I hope this is the last spell we have on the cold snap," he said. "I hope there's no more after this one."

His 10-year-old daughter Eliza agrees, this crop is sure to be one of the best yet. "DJ's Berry Patch are the best berries in town," she said.

Now, the race is on to get enough berries ripe in time for Pick Your Own visits next Monday. Families who want to pick their own will be happy to know DJ's Berry Patch will be open for picking Monday, April 18 through the second week in June, weather permitting.

For more information visit their website, or facebook page.

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