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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

Calvin Wallin 40th year.jpg
Calvin Wallin stands by the 40th anniversary sign at the Wallin Barry Farm east of downtown Nisswa in 2019.
Echo Journal File Photo
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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 Wallin

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.
Calvin Wallin

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."

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Wallin said he's met many good people and gotten to know them through the years.

Things have been somewhat tricky this year for the Wallin Berry Farm east of Nisswa thanks to inclement weather early on and a global health crisis leading to stay-at-home orders.

"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 travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.

Related Topics: NISSWAFOODBUSINESS
Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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