By Len Ramirez

WATSONVILLE (KPIX 5) — Big, fat strawberries are the latest roadside attraction in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

The strawberries are extra-large and flavorful, the first of the locally-grown strawberry crop is starting to appear on Bay Area market shelves, impressing the locals and folks who come from afar.

Christy Krussman from Montpelier, Vermont was at one roadside stand Tuesday and said, “They look gorgeous and they’re huge. They look delicious.”

She said the strawberries where she’s from never get this big.

A very wet winter has naturally nourished the strawberry plants and plump strawberries are the result.

Carolyn O’Donnel with the California Strawberry Commission said, “The strawberries are really big and that’s a reflection of the beginning of the season. The plants are very exuberant. And they are producing really large fruit.”

But O’Donnel says the weather has also produced challenges for strawberry growers.

“Strawberries are pretty delicate though, so what happens is that they sometimes get waterlogged and they’re not very good for market the growers will have to strip those off.  But the plants are producing all throughout the season, so we’ll have another fresh crop ready to go,” she said.

O’Donnel said the second batch of berries won’t be as large and one local grower says the second pick is always sweeter.

Prices were a little bit up at one roadside stand, running $5.99 a basket, but customers lured by the size and smell of these beauties say they’re worth it.