A success “ripe” from the beginning: Alderson Strawberry Festival remains largest day of the season for local farm

“We all depend on this one day of sales.” - Jennifer Gilkerson, owner of Sunset Berry Farms
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 4:23 PM EDT
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ALDERSON, W.Va. (WVVA) - Like many businesses in Alderson, Sunset Berry Farms is looking forward to the town’s annual strawberry festival on Saturday, May 27.

WVVA visited the farms to learn how one little plant can make all the difference in their business as they gear up for their biggest selling day of the year.

“We expect, at least, a couple thousand people to be here on that one day, as opposed to a normal day [where] there might be ten or twenty families in the strawberry patch,” shared Jennifer Gilkerson, owner of Sunset Berry Farms.

The farm is currently in the midst of strawberry season. For the consumer, this time of year means going to the farm and spending a few hours cultivating their own perfect bucket of fresh fruit. But for the workers, it means an entire year of labor and planning condensed into a little more than a month.

“We do have only four to six weeks to get rid of 40,000 pounds of strawberries...” Gilkerson shared, adding that the Alderson Strawberry Festival is the perfect way to ensure a bulk of that product is not only sold but enjoyed.

This is why Gilkerson, her husband- known by all as “Farmer Kent”- and Alderson Main Street created the festival back in 2016.

“It’s very important for not only our business to keep us going, but it’s also important for all of the other businesses in town. We all depend on this one day of sales.”

And if you happen to make it up to Sunset Berry Farms on Saturday to hand-pick your own bucket of strawberries, they promise you won’t be disappointed. Just last weekend, the strawberries there were named the sweetest in the state at the West Virginia Strawberry Festival.

“Most of the time, all new customers say that this is the best strawberry they’ve ever had, even against Florida strawberries, North Carolina strawberries...”

The Alderson Strawberry Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., both at Sunset Berry Farms and in downtown Alderson. Between the two locations, you will find all things strawberry, including strawberry-flavored drinks and desserts, strawberry-inspired outfits and more. There will also be music, vendors and activities for kids. Learn more here.

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