The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Entertainment

June 9, 2014

Visitors get their fill of family fun, strawberries

DALEVILLE, Ind. — Sarah Fuller was looking for a good reason to get her daughter Madison out of the house.

She heard about the Landess Farms’ annual strawberry festival near Daleville, and thought it would be the perfect cool June weekend to get Madison away from technology and into some dirt.

“Anything to get her outside and away from a TV,” Fuller said Sunday.

And they weren’t the only ones.

Several hundred patrons made the trip to rural Daleville for games, a picking tour and lots of strawberries. The farm is at 6000 West County Road 700 South in Delaware County.

After a wagon ride to one of the Landess’ strawberry patches, Madison Fuller got straight to picking. The young girl said she was looking forward to putting some berries on her ice cream.The Fullers made the short drive from Anderson with friend Lacy Rier to experience their first strawberry festival, which has been running for eight years.

“After the winter we had, it’s good for all of us to get out,” Sarah Fuller said.

According to owner Jesse Landess, that’s what the festival is all about. The company, which has been operating for 94 years, provides a locally-grown source of food, and strawberries are a healthy snack alternative. Landess acknowledged his strawberries aren’t completely organic, but few pesticides are used in their production, and the patches available for picking Sunday were completely organic.

Landess said he started the festival for local families as much as anything.

“We want to encourage people to come out here and see the farm with their kids and build some fun memories,” Landess said. “We don’t produce as many strawberries here as they do on the west coast, but the soil here is good for it.”

The Indiana growing cycle has three phases, and Landess said the farms are currently between the early and middle seasons. The business is typically entirely family-run, but during busy summer months they will bring on about 10 people to help as well as some pickers.

Chris Dellen, Landess’ son-in-law, said one of the chief differences between Indiana berries and those grown in California is size. Indiana berries are typically a little smaller because California growers insert a lot of water into their berries. The result is Indiana’s berries are a little more flavorful, and obviously fresher because they don’t need to be imported.

“A lot of [California growers] ship their berries when they’re still green,” Dellen said.

Anderson native Cheryl Hodge said she loves the local strawberries. She and her daughter Reanna made the trip to the farm for the festival on Sunday. Hodge just recently moved to Madison County, but she heard about the festival after attending the pumpkin harvest in the fall.

“It’s a great place to come and they have a lot of products for sale,” Hodge said.

Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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