Parsons’ Produce finding first strawberry season sweet


It’s strawberry season on Delmarva, and if you blink, it’ll be over.

Coastal Point photos • Monica fleming: Gina Calloway, Parsons employee Heather Hitchens and Michelle West, above, with fresh-picked strawberries at Parsons Produce on Amory Road near Dagsboro.Coastal Point photos • Monica Fleming
Gina Calloway, Parsons employee Heather Hitchens and Michelle West, above, with fresh-picked strawberries at Parsons Produce on Amory Road near Dagsboro.

A new place for “U-pick” strawberries this year is Parsons’ Produce, a family-run farm on Armory Road in the Dagsboro/Frankford area.

According to farmer Paul Parsons, the season is short because once it gets to be about 80 degrees, the strawberry plants start to spread and concentrate less on producing fruit, so the berries will be available only for the next two weeks or so.

Parsons has grown and sold vegetables since he was 12 years old, and strawberries are something he and his wife, Meredith, have been wanting to try — they just had to find the right time. They are a young couple with a 2-year-old, as well as the farm, to look after.

“We’ve been wanting to do it for a while, “said Paul Parsons. “But we had to wait until we graduated college, because they come early [in the season.]

So, last fall, the timing was right, and Parsonses planted about an acre of strawberries — about 7,000 plants.

“We have two varieties: Chandler, a bigger berry, and Sweet Charlie, which is smaller, but sweeter.” They have about three rows of Sweet Charlies, and the rest are Chandlers.

Paul Parsons said the berries have been surviving the May showers, though customers are scarcer on cloudy days. But, last Saturday, with its abundant sunshine and temperature hovering around 70 degrees, was perfect strawberry-picking weather.

Gina Calloway and first-time picker Michelle West of Georgetown took advantage the sunshine to pick some berries.

“I have a 15-month-old at home, and he’s just crazy over all this fresh fruit!” shared Calloway.

Coastal Point photos • Monica Fleming: Isabel and Lily Fleming enjoy the fruits of their labor.Coastal Point photos • Monica Fleming
Isabel and Lily Fleming enjoy the fruits of their labor.

“Today’s been our first real good day,” said Meredith Parsons.

“And it’s nice,” added Paul Parsons, “because people stop and then other people driving by stop because they see the cars.”

In the summer, the Parsonses will have squash, cantaloupes, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelons, tomatoes, lettuce and green beans , and in the fall they have different varieties of pumpkins available. They also plan on having their new retail building off of Armory Road open for business sometime in June. U-pick strawberries are available every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the end of the season, or people can buy strawberries right off the wagon. They cost $3.50 per quart, or $1.98 per pound.

For people who can’t get out to the Dagsboro/Frankford area, Parsons’ strawberries are also available for purchase at Ocean View Produce, off of Route 26. Starting near the end of June — although too late for their strawberries — Parsons Produce will be participating in both the Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island farmers’ markets, selling veggies.