Strawberry picking season ramping up across Western Wisconsin

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- At Govin's Meats and Berries in Menomonie, the strawberries are ready for picking. Take it from 2 1/2-year-old Chase Peterson. He knows a good strawberry when he tastes one.

He and his family were among a good size crowd at the farm on Wednesday, opting to pick their own strawberries from the field rather than picking them out at the store.

DeeAnn Thompson says her kids take away a lot from the experience.

"I think it's a great idea to get kids out here and show kids you can grow your own and make it a yearly tradition and eat healthy and get exercise while you're doing it," Thompson said.

John Govin's family has been in this business for 11 years. He says they love sharing this passion with others. This year picking got off to a late start, partly due to the cooler weather. But he is optimistic about what the season holds.

"All the rain for a berry grower it's great; the rain we've had came hard, then the sun comes out," he added.

And he says that has made for great berries.

South of Eau Claire, Little Berry Farm has been welcoming its first customers ever over the last few days.

Gaye Brunkow and Dawn Rico are new to the strawberry farming business.

"We have a lot of people in town who have been really helpful and we are grateful to them," they said.

They took a class through the land ownership project and started getting serious.

"It helped us to form a business plan and really think through what we want to do, what was our goal," Rico said.

Little Berry Farm was closed on Wednesday so the strawberries could ripen a bit more but will open back up on Thursday.

Both Rico and Brunkow have put a lot of work and hours to produce natural, fresh strawberries. And they know a long fun few weeks is ahead.

Govin says strawberry picking season usually lasts for a few weeks a little past July 4th.

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