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Skaneateles 'Strawberry Fields' thriving

Have you seen that field of organized, vertical, white containers with a strawberry sign to the west of the village of Skaneateles on Route 20? That's Linda and Doug Eldred's Strawberry Fields. These are organic strawberries available for your picking, right up until the first frost, which tends to hit about mid-October. Using this growing method the Eldred's have extended the fresh strawberries season at least four months. Plus there is no more on your "hands and knees picking," as the strawberries are grown up into the sky more like a beanstalk rather than in the dirt, along the ground.

Skaneateles resident George Dowling said, he has been a fascinated customer since last August. That was Strawberry Field's first year in operation.

"It's an amazing layout and marvelous experience seeing how these super berries are grown," Dowling said.

Linda said last year was a little shaky because of all the rain. The berries really love the sun, much like Mandana's Lockwood Lavender Farm. They even use the same shiny ground cloth to help reflect the sun. This year the berries are still coming strong, Linda said.

Linda also grows some herbs and tomatoes hydroponically. And the little shop sometimes sells already picked berries and lots of other goodies for one's pantry.

Strawberry Fields is basically Linda's new baby, as after homeschooling their five children, she wanted to work outside the home.

"I love it," Linda said. "People always leave here happy."

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