Diane and Chuck Prellwitz stand by their strawberry fields on the second to last day of picking ever.
Diane and Chuck Prellwitz stand by their strawberry fields on the second to last day of picking ever.

   Their name is right on the sign.

   “Prellwitz Produce.”

   But Chuck realizes it’s never really just been his and wife Diane’s family’s farm.

   “It’s [Ripon’s] place to go pick strawberries, their place to make memories. It’s their place where they came as kids and now they’re bringing their kids,” he said.

   After 26 seasons of growing those tasty, ruby-red jewels, it’s no surprise the family’s name has become synonymous with strawberries.

   “It didn’t take long, really,” he said. “Four or five years, and people start thinking you’re the strawberry guy.”

   He’s held that title with joy for a quarter century — but Chuck is ready to pass it on to another.

   Last week Saturday, the last strawberry ever was picked by the public at Prellwitz Produce.

   While that berry may not have tasted more bittersweet than its cousins picked prior, the moment certainly was for the Prellwitz family.
“[My son] Sam, at 5 years old: we made a job for him of carrying boxes from the stands to the cars,” Chuck said. “And last Saturday, Ramsey, his oldest was 7 and started carrying boxes to the cars.

   “I wish we could do it a few more years to get [my grandchildren] more involved in it, but that’s [not possible].”

   For 26 years, “it’s been a family thing,” Chuck said. “It’s been my wife, it’s been the boys, all of us are part of it.”

   But their day in the summer sun is over.

Read the full story, including news about the future of strawberry farming in the Ripon area, in the July 11, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.