Berries showered in colorful scene

By Rachel McAuley

March 27, 2014

LAURINBURG — Though James Cooley has been growing strawberries for nearly 14 years, there’s one part of his job that never gets old — seeing folks pause their morning commute to snap a photo of a phenomenon that occurs when the early morning sunlight hits the water pouring down from his irrigation system at just the right angle.

On those days, his fields are covered not only with the small, leafy plant, but also with rainbows.

“We got some ice this morning,” said Cooley, owner of Cooley’s Strawberries, on Thursday. “It makes pretty rainbows and makes for a pretty photo.”

As water on the plant changes to ice, he said, the plant’s temperature stabilizes, protecting it from potential damage. With this year’s sometimes bizarre weather, Cooley isn’t sure when the berries will appear, but they could be ripe for picking as early as next month.

“It depends on mother nature,” he said. “This year the weather is being tough. The strawberries should be out.”

Rachel McAuley can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 15. Follow her on Twitter @rachelmcauley1.