CORINTH, Maine — It's earlier than usual, but strawberry-picking season is at its peak across Maine.
At RJ Hall's Family Farm in Corinth and other farms throughout the state, growers say the berries are ready for the taking. RJ Hall's owner, Ray Hall, says he has about 16,000 plants of fresh strawberries ready to be harvested. Even the small ones, which Hall says are still very sweet.
"People think that a berry has to be a great big berry, because of what you buy in the store, but that is not true, the small berries as just as sweet as the big berries, and actually some people say that you can get more in a box, you get more for your money by getting the small berries, cause there's not so much of an air space," Hall said.
"I think at the beginning a lot of people weren't aware that it was strawberry season yet because that's not a normal year here in Maine," said Ray's wife and fellow owner, Jessica Hall.
"You can't get strawberries that taste like this in the stores, you can't get them like that from Florida or any place because you are getting them fresh." Riley Hall, Ray and Jessica's daughter, said.
"My great grandfather started this farm in the 1950s, and then it was bought by my grandfather in the 1980s, it was then purchased by my father in the 2000s," Jessica Hall said.
The farm faced challenges back in 2016, causing it to close indefinitely. However, two years ago, with a lot of determination the Hall's took on the task of giving the farm life again. They say it brings so many memories to generations of family.
"People are really excited to hear that the place is back up and running, and that's what's important to us," Ray Hall said. "Long days, short nights, sweat, blood, and tears, it has really paid off."
"Our plants are loaded with strawberries, it's a really great season following a not-so-great season with frost and a drought," Jessica Hall said.
"To go make jelly, and go make some mile-high strawberry pie, and just freeze them for the winter!" customer Hunter Havel said.
U-pick berries are $5 per box or $7 for pre-picked boxes at RJ Hall's Family Farm. Empty boxes for pick-your-own cost 25 cents.
"We had to go up on our prices due to everything increasing, our fertilizer increased, out straw increased, our plants, our seeds, we really struggled with that one, we didn't want to up on the prices but when we went back into our books and looked, we had to." said Jessica Hall. "But the quality is there."
RJ Hall's Family Farm owners tell say they will have fresh ripe strawberries for the next two weeks.
The fourth-generation family-run farm offers pick-your-own every weekday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 136 Puddledock Road in Corinth.