Handley speaks with Kennebec Journal about central Maine strawberry crop

David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits, spoke with the Kennebec Journal for the article, “Wayne, Farmington strawberry growers say crop coming soon, looking good.” According to Handley, last summer’s drought had a big effect on the upcoming strawberry crop. The plant population is a little thinner because of the dry conditions last summer — except for those of growers with irrigation systems — but overall it looks good for the coming season, the article states. Handley said demand for strawberries and compensating for last year isn’t what might cause an increase in price this year. Instead, growers’ rising business costs could trickle down to the consumer. “Costs are going up with fertilizers, fuel to run the tractors and anything with energy,” he said. “And the cost of labor is going up because of the tight labor force. It’s the cost of doing business.” The Associated Press published a report citing the KJ article. The Sun Journal carried the AP report.