At a time when Arkansas-grown summer strawberries are a happy memory, Elena Garcia and her team are just gearing up for their growing season. Garcia, a professor and extension fruit and nut specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, is studying the use of high tunnels for winter and early spring strawberry harvest in Arkansas. Her research, which aims to extend the short, but sweet, strawberry growing season in Arkansas, is one of 18 nationwide to earn a grant as part of the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative. Arkansas once ranked among the nation’s top strawberry growers, but California and Florida have taken over the majority of production. Total U.S. strawberry production was valued at $2.4 billion in 2011.
This article appears in the December 2013 issue of Acres U.S.A.