NESCOPECK, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The beginning of summer marks strawberry picking season.

And this season has come early at Pumpkin Hill Produce Farms in Nescopeck. This year’s strawberry season got a head start.

“It’s the earliest we ever opened. We opened May the 26th, normally we open June 3rd. They came out early this year,” farm owner Harry Roinick said.

Roinick credits a good winter for the early opening.

“They had a nice blanket of snow on when they needed the snow on. We had fields here that we never even put straw on and they’re plentiful. For many, picking strawberries is an annual tradition. Those here at Pumpkin Hill Produce Farms tell Eyewitness News they haven’t seen a harvest like this in a while.

“It’s the best year I’ve seen in a long time. It’s dynamite,” Guy Roberts of Benton said.

“I pick every year. I missed last year because of the pandemic. But I try to pick every single year and I’ve never seen the berries this big before. They’re always good from here but this is a killer season,” farm employee Reta Carl said.

Carl actually started working at the farm when she came out to pick the berries. She’s already picked about 40 pounds worth this season and she’s planning to pick more. She tells Eyewitness News many people prefer to pick their own strawberries over going to the grocery store.

“It gives you a sense of old school, like an old school tough you hear about grandmothers. I picked with my mom and it’s just nice to have that touch of home,” Carl said.

It’s also a way to support local farmers.

“My dad actually planted berries for a while and really enjoyed it but it’s a lot of work, and so we appreciate the work they put into it and we’d like to help them so they continue to do it,” Kristin Culver of Shickshinny said.

“People don’t realize how much local farmers help the economy. You’re putting something from farm to table right in your house,” Carl said.

Pumpkin Hill Produce Farms are open for strawberry picking from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. , depending on the weather.

Several other farms in the area plan to open this weekend.