Nisswa berry farm is getting out of the strawberry business
Late frosts in 2021 made for the worst strawberry year for Wallin Berry Farm - until 2022
NISSWA — U-pick berry enthusiasts who flock to Wallin Berry Farm off County Road 18 in Nisswa will have to wait until mid-July for blueberries and raspberries this year, as Calvin Wallin said he's likely done with strawberries.
I'm tired of fighting weeds and insects and frost and weather.
Calvin and his brother, John Wallin, started their farm east of Nisswa in 1979, when a strawberry farmer from Oregon gave them the idea. More than 40 years later, aggressive weeds, invasive pests and late, hard frosts have made it harder to make a profit off the plants.
"Last year we had two nights - May 28 and 29 - that were so cold I couldn't protect them with the irrigation system," Calvin Wallin said. "It got too cold and most of them were in bloom, so last year was probably the worst year until this year. There's just nothing this year."
The best reward I've had is making people happy getting fresh berries.
There are many factors. Wallin said this year the weeds were particularly bad and his plants are getting old. To top it off, an invasive spotted wing drosophila arrived in Minnesota in 2012, and has since caused havoc for berry farmers, reducing fruits to a mushy mess.
"I'm tired of fighting weeds and insects and frost and weather," Wallin said. "It's been too much of a headache trying to get a good crop for people, especially the last two years."
Wallin said he's met many good people and gotten to know them through the years.
"The best reward I've had is making people happy getting fresh berries," Wallin said. "We meet a lot of nice people."
Wallin said they should still have blueberries and raspberries in mid-July depending on the quality of the crop. Those who wish to pick berries can find updates on the Wallin Berry Farm, Nisswa, MN, Facebook page.
Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or firstname.lastname@example.org.