MIDDLEFIELD, Ohio - The first few weeks of June are traditionally strawberry season, but this year many farms are out of the sweet fruit already.
Riding out to the strawberry patch is a fun-filled family event repeated year after year.
"This is my 8-year-old granddaughter,” Donald Hayes said.
Hayes said his wife will make freezer jam for the whole family with the berries he picked.
Repeated freezes this spring, after a mild March, killed many of the strawberry blossoms. Aufdenkampe Family Farm in Vermilion, Ohio is already out of their crop.
Picker Lillie Blosser said, “We drove like 40 miles to come here and the other farm their berries they were dry they weren’t good at all.”
Strawberry season started early, and for some farms it's already over if they had any at all.
"I lost about 80 percent of my berries," said Bill Robinson of Robinson's Apple Barn .
Bill Robinson needs berries to sell at his farmer's market stand, so he had to buy them. That extra cost for farmers is being passed on to the consumer.
"We are trying to hold the price the best we can. My price on strawberries is up 10 cents a quart,” Robinson said.
At Ridgeview Farm , prices are up 25 cents a pound on pick-your-own strawberries. You'll pay $1.79 a pound. If you don't want to do the hard work yourself, you'll pay $4.50 a quart.
You're paying more because farmers need to recoup the thousands of dollars they invested to save the berries.
"I lost count on how many nights we watered and we ran low on water from our irrigation pond,” Grover said.
He also invested in row covers to cover the berries. The one upside -- the berries that were saved are bigger and better.
"The flavor is really good because of the warm weather,” Grover explained.
Pickers are noticing the plump berries.
"Coming up here and getting the nice berries. It's worth the extra price,” Blosser said.
The apple crop was also hit hard by the late cold snap this spring with some farmers losing 80 percent of their crop in the big apple produce states of Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
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