Glens Falls in 1886 — ‘Monster’ strawberries

The 1886 growing season yielded a banner crop of “monster” strawberries in Glens Falls.

“J.B. Fish, Wait Street, favored The Star office last evening with a specimen supply of monster strawberries. They are as sweet and pleasing to the taste as they are large. One of them measured five-and-a-half inches in circumference,” The Morning Star reported on June 16. “They were given by George Sheffer, Bay Street, who picked a bushel of luscious berries yesterday, and expects a yield from the garden of a least twenty-five bushels.”

Sheffer was back a few days later with an even bigger berry.

George Sheffer, Bay Street, comes to the front again with a mammoth strawberry measuring six inches in circumference.”

It seems that almost every June there were reports of large strawberry crops.

“Field strawberries, the most luscious of their kind, promise to be abundant this season,” The Granville Sentinel reported on June 16, 1876.

“The strawberry crop promises to be the largest ever known in this vicinity,” The Granville Sentinel reported on June 14, 1877.

The 1884 strawberry season was an exception.

“Strawberries are very scarce. The frost killed them while in blossom,” the Thurman correspondent to The Morning Star reported on June 23, 1884.

Here are some more strawberry stories collected from northern New York historic newspapers.

· The Morning Star of Glens Falls on June 26, 1885 reported about extraordinary fruit selling at Lake Luzerne.

“Strawberries as large as an egg are plentiful and sell for ten cents a quart,” — the equivalent of $2.69 in 2021 dollars.

· This one, grown three years later in Montgomery County, was even bigger than an egg.

“A strawberry has been grown at Fonda which measures eight inches,” The Granville Sentinel reported on July 27, 1888.

· “Edwin Crain (of Fort Edward) is the champion strawberry raiser in this locality,” The Morning Star reported on June 30, 1883. “Thus far he has picked for the market sixty quarts and the berries are just beginning to ripen. His berries are remarkably large and fine flavored.”

· “A sample of ripe strawberries grown in a garden on Summit Street were exhibited at The Star office yesterday. Some of them were four-and-a-half inches in circumference,” The Morning Star reported on June 12, 1886.

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY