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Wet start to summer impacts strawberry crops

Posted at 3:58 PM, Jun 23, 2019

CEDARBURG — The streets were packed in Cedarburg for the 2019 Strawberry Festival. Local vendors said this year was the busiest year they have ever seen.

Festival-goers waited in long lines for strawberry salsa, strawberry shortcake and even the famous strawberry brats.

"The strawberry brats by far are the most popular," said Dan Kniess, Captain of Brat Cooking. "We are selling 60-70 every 30 minutes."

The large crowds have been good for local businesses.

"I would have to say yesterday was the largest crowd ever," said Patrick Niles, owner of Downtown Dough. "You couldn't even walk here at all. It's really good for business. We are running out of a lot of stuff."

For Bud Schmit, owner of Schmit's Farm and Produce, he said on Saturday he had to make multiple trips on his tractors to replenish his strawberry inventory. In both of his booths, he went through 270 crates of strawberries.

However, this year, all of his strawberries had to come from a different source.

"It's been a lousy growing year," said Schmit.

Mother nature has not been kind to Bud and those in the farming industry. Generally around this time it's picking season, but this year, that's not the case.

"Because of the temperature," said Schmit. "It's a short season crop, and they don't mature early enough. Even all the local big growers don't have any berries yet."

The wet and cold weather has also impacted his other produce like sweet corn. Bud said the raining weather is concerning, but it's just something all farmers have to deal with.

"It concerns me, but there is nothing I can do," he said.

Festivals like Strawberry Fest and local farmers markets have helped to recuperate some of the funds.