Strawberry farmers in Maine are keeping a close eye on the weather these next few weeks.The season is shaping up to be a sweet one, as long as Mother Nature cooperates.Joy Hollowell headed out to Tate’s Strawberry Farm in Corinth.=====”We’re about a week earlier than other years.”Albert Tate says an earlier than usual spring helped. And it turns out all that rain we had earlier this month was good for something.”The rain really helped them grow,” says Tate. “Berries like to grow in the rain.”The three week strawberry season is now dependent on plenty of sunshine to ripen up the fruit. Tate seeded 20 acres this year.”We’ve got five new varieties,” he says. “We tried a variety called Jewel, which is a medium berry, it’s got a lot of tart taste to it. There’s one that’s a large berry but it’s got a white tip, it’s ripe when it is with a white tip. And we’ve got really small berries that people want for jamming.”Tate’s roadside stands are now open. The U-Pick season starts Saturday, June 22nd. +++You can check out Tate’s Strawberry Farm Facebook page for details on prices, U-Pick schedule and roadside stand locations. You can also call Albert Tate at 285-3410. They are offering a senior discount this season on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday for the U-Pick price.Langeley’s Strawberries in Hermon plans to set up its roadside stands at the end of June. They can be reached at 848-3936.The owner of Silverridge Farm in Bucksport tells us their earliest varieties are starting to show. They’re asking customers to call around the 20th for an update at 469-2405.Ford Stevenson of Stevenson’s Strawberries in Wayne says he’s looking forward to a plentiful season, especially after last year, which he said was cut short. He plans to open pick-your-own operations within a week or so.