Strawberry farmers take major hit as coronavirus crisis crushes sales; festivals postponed
SPRINGFIELD- Southeast Louisiana's famous strawberry crop is being devastated by the virus and farmers across the region are being hit hard. For the first time in decades, the hit has nothing to do with the weather.
It is strawberry harvesting season in Springfield, but this business is just one of many being touched by the coronavirus outbreak.
"My biggest fear is the industry taking a huge blow on this deal," strawberry farmer Trey Harris said.
Harris is a commercial berry farmer, wholesaler, and retailer. People are afraid to come out to these 'pick your own' berry farms.
Harris grows extra berries around this time of year for the annual Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival, the biggest event in Tangipahoa Parish, but that was postponed due to the pandemic.
"A lot of these farmers are depending on the Strawberry Festival to move a lot of their product. Right now, the festival has been canceled to a later date in May," Harris said. This marks the first time the event has been postponed in 49 years.
Harris says some smaller farmers may never recover from this coronavirus crisis if the government does not step in with a funding program.
Some strawberry farmers will not know how much the crisis has hit their industry until there is no longer a threat of the coronavirus.