The sweet scent of strawberries will be in the air, as strawberry patches around the region prepare to open for business this weekend.
Strawberry farms in southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area will open to customers looking to get their hands on the savory summer berries, according to the state's Department of Agriculture.
In Northern Minnesota, growers expect their season to begin in early July.
"Many strawberry patches in northern Minnesota will not open until after July first, with the peak probably after the July Fourth holiday," said Thaddeus McCamant, Specialty Crop Instructor at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls. "While the cool spring delayed the bloom, we expect a spectacular crop again this season."
Strawberries do well in cool weather but the peak of the season will come a little later than usual this year, McCamant said.
A list of local berry farms can be found at the Department of Agriculture's Minnesota Grown Directory.
Officials say picking conditions can vary from farm to farm and change from day to day, depending on the weather and field conditions.
"The best advice is always to call the farm or visit their website to verify picking conditions and hours," Department of Agriculture Marketing Specialist Paul Hugunin said.
The 2009 directory includes 76 strawberry growers statewide and more than 700 orchards, farmers' markets, garden centers and other places to buy products directly from farmers.