(MONDAMIN,IA) - Jim Small owns Smalls Fruit Farm. He grows everything from strawberries to apples even asparagus. A couple of months ago, Jim was worried about a potential spring freeze damaging his crops. Now, he tells KMEG 14 his fruit ripened quicker than he ever expected.
Rows and rows of delicious fruit grow on his farm. Jim spent his childhood at the farm and helped his dad sell it all from their shop. This season however, he and his crew got to work much sooner than most years.
"We didn't take much time off so we worked a lot and had a lot of trees pruned. So we knew we had to work pretty feverishly to get all the brush out of the orchard to where you can get through with the tractor and sprayer and start spraying," said Small.
Although we had a warm winter and spring, a few below freezing days in April had farmers like Jim scrambling to save their crops.
"Have a straw mulch over the top of them through the winter. We pulled the straw mulch off. We seen the cold weather was coming and turned around and put our straw back over the top of them just so we could save the berries that we have," he described.
The Smalls and their workers have been picking strawberries since April, about a month early.
"We've seen it right around the first to the middle of April. And then it got cool and it kind of slowed them back a little bit, but then it got warm and just pushed them right back ahead."
They already finished picking at the very beginning of June. Jim said it's a proud feeling to see his strawberries make it from the field to the shop ready to sell.
"When it does come in, it's a good looking product anyway cause the product's gotta look good to sell," said Jim "Doesn't matter how you tell them it's the best thing they ever ate, but if it doesn't look good, it's not gonna sell."
Luckily, he has an extra hand in the field. Jim's son Trevor didn't grow up on the farm, but he's learning the farming ways now hoping to take over someday.
"I'm being raised into the family. I'm doing this for my future. He called me up the one day and wanted to know if I wanted to take part in the family farm. Of course I said yeah. Get into this you know. It's not all pretty. It's a lot of hard work. Long hours," said Trevor Small.
"It's just a sense of pride that you have knowing that this thing's going to keep going when you're not around to see it," said Jim.
Jim's already picking raspberries. They're a month early this year. He said he's going to have to convince people to eat fall apples starting in August.
Main Phone: 712-277-3554