Berry lovers will find miracle strawberries fresh and close to home over the next few weeks.
In the fourth year of offering berries, Barry Moiser, owner of Miracle Strawberry Farm of Dodge Center, says it’s the best crop he’s been able to offer. What helped push the berries to their fullest potential this year was no hail, no late frost and a warm May, he said.
“This year we have really nice berries,” Moiser said. “It’s the Lord’s blessing.”
The Miracle Farm has a new development this year with 12,000 new strawberry plants featuring an underground drip irrigation system to provide necessary moisture. “It’s very water efficient,” said Moiser. “We’re not wasting any water.”
Moiser expects the new irrigation system will ensure “nice size berries” consistently from year to year. “My goal is to have the best berries in the Rochester area,” he said.
Miracle offers prepicked berries as well as pick your own on 2.4 acres of fields located between Kasson and Dodge Center. Moiser hopes to continue growing the farm in the future as demand calls for it.
Though the farm is still in the growing stages, people have told Moiser that he has the best field in the state. “I’m honored to hear that, but I’m humbled,” he said. There are no other fields in Dodge or Steele counties.
Moiser began planting strawberries about five years ago when he saw the opportunity because there weren’t any other farms around the area. From the start, he has been focused on providing consumers a “good, healthy product.”
He said the key to producing top-notch berries is to pay attention to the field throughout the year, even though the actual picking season is three weeks or less. Moiser utilizes 9,000 pounds of manure as he tries “to do things as natural as we can,” he said. He added that they spray when necessary for insects, but they do it as little as possible.
Strawberries, Moiser said, are the most sprayed crop in California, often getting doused with eight times the fertilizer of any other crop. “They are best handled fresh,” he said.
Picking began on June 15. The season will be slightly shorter than normal going for about 2 ½ weeks, Moiser said. Hours are Sunday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. They are closed on Saturdays.
As he looked out at the fields, Moiser said, “It’s the Lord’s crop. I’ve learned to depend on God to take care of the crop.”