EFFORT, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Overnight drops in temperatures recently have impacted the fun activity of strawberry picking that many families take part in across our region.

Tending to a farm is no piece of cake, spending a minimum of ten hours a day, seven days a week in the fields, owner Mark Heckman of Heckman Orchards has grown up on the farm his whole life.

You’d think he’s seen it all; until now. With recent cold temperatures ruining the sweetness of the strawberry season.

“My parents I should say started this back in the early 1960s and they’ve never had this cold of a temperature this late in May.”

The overnight chill the last couple of weeks ultimately froze right through the crop, despite their efforts of keeping it alive by irrigation.

“We put a lot of time and effort into trying to produce quality products here and when mother nature takes it away, it’s kind of disappointing lets say,” said Heckman.

The impacted strawberries have led Heckman to cancel the popular ‘pick your own strawberries’ at the farm.

An activity hundreds of people take part in every year, a letdown by mother nature, and also a financial loss for the farm.

“It’s definitely disappointing to many families that they’re not going to be able to do their annual tradition of like a summer kick-off of picking strawberries with their family. We’re disappointed, they’re disappointed, so we’re just hopeful that next year is better,” said assistant store manager, Amber Borger.

The farm’s trees holding peaches and apples still holding on ahead of their season but Heckman says a lack of rain our region has seen is impacting many of its other crops.

“Everything that we are growing is running behind schedule just because it’s so dry. We’ve even delayed planting on our pumpkins and everything else because there’s not enough moisture in the top couple inches of the soil.”

Fortunately, through greenhouses and around-the-clock care, families are still able to get fresh produce hand-picked from the farm.

And even though you may not be able to pick your own this season, strawberries will be sold at the shop when they’re ripe.

Heckman Orchards is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.