Six Berry Farms in Chassell Provide the Strawberry Festival’s Full Ton of Strawberries.

The berry farms in Chassell have provided sweet treats to residents of the Upper Peninsula for many years. Before the rise of California’s agriculture, many of Chassell grown berries would find their way grocers and markets in Chicago and much of the Midwest. There are six farms still in operation today that mainly distribute to areas of the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin.

We still have the niche here where it serves the UP and Northern Wisconsin, even in Minnesota. We have customers that come up from long distances to get these local Copper Country berries. There used to be over 500 acres in production and we’re probably about 20% of that now. But there are some farmers that are growing here again, a little bit in size, so that works out well too. – Dan Crane, Secretary, Chassell Lions Club

This year will mark the 76th year of the Chassell Strawberry Festival. Over the years, while the strawberry festival has gained popularity among residents and visitors, Chassell Lions secretary Dan Crane says that they’ve needed to cut more strawberries. With the festival to the point that last year volunteers helped prepare and cut a whole ton of the sweet treat.

Well on Friday we start selling at 9 a.m. and that’s usually a pretty casual crowd coming in until noon and as the day picks up if the weather is cooperative it just gets busier and busier. The busiest time for shortcakes is right after the parade. That’s probably the hot, then we got lines that are stretching pretty long but otherwise, we’ve got a pretty good kitchen set up here and we can run people through the line pretty quick. – Dan Crane, Secretary, Chassell Lions Club

Ahead of the celebrations on Friday and Saturday the Chassell Lions will ask for volunteers to help cut up strawberries for shortcakes. Volunteer time has become a favorite among residents to catch up with friends while serving the community. Those interested in helping with the strawberries on Thursday night should bring a paring knife and gloves. Organizers also suggest wearing clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty working with juicy berries. Set up for the berry cutting will start at 4pm on Thursday, with most volunteers starting around 5pm. Those interested in learning more about the 76th Chassell Strawberry Festival sponsored by the Chassell Lions Club can find more details and an event schedule here.