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Manteca area stands offer freshly picked strawberries


There's good news from the strawberry fields this year in the south San Joaquin County area.

The roadside fruit stands selling this colorful spring and summer snack staples opened for business this past weekend.

Some, like the one located on West Yosemite Avenue in Manteca, actually started on Friday to the delight of customers like local businessman Mark Curry who was one of the first to pick up a few baskets of the sweet juicy red fruit that morning.
That's just the first of the many purchase stops he expects to do through the summer, the owner of Party Warehouse Rentals said with a smile while enumerating the many ways he likes to serve the fruit at home — from smoothies to chopped pieces mixed with other ingredients.

The best news about this strawberry season? Unlike gas prices which are hurtling through the stratosphere, the so-called queen of berries has maintained the same price tag for the third year in a row, said strawberry farmer Sai Saelee who helps his wife, Fahm, run the roughly five-acre field on the corner of West Yosemite Avenue at the end of D'Arcy Parkway of Crossroads Industrial Park in Lathrop. Those price ranges are $21 for a flat, $12, for half a flat, $7 for three baskets, and $2.50 for one basket.

That's much cheaper than those sold in Clear Lake, noted Saelee, where a flat could run for $27 each. The reason for that cost discrepancy is supply and demand, he pointed out. There are not as many strawberry farms up there as there are here, Saelee said
There are several varieties of this fleshy red fruit, but the more popular ones are Chandler and Albion, both of which are available at the Saelees' fruitstand.

They expect to be open daily up to October from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The sweet and fleshy red berry is freshly picked each day for customers.