It is the height of strawberry season, and picking them fresh off the vine and eating them should be on your “must do” list in June. I took the kids out to Doran’s Farm Market in New Albany Sunday morning – it was a great activity that kept them interested and busy. I couldn’t keep up with the baby because he was eating the berries as fast as I was picking them. It was hysterical to see him covered in red strawberry juice from head to toe. My daughter just loved finding a berry she could pick. We were informed that you needed to pick the strawberries that were all red, because if the berry had orange or white on it, it would not continue to ripen like a tomato does after you pick it. We were also informed the cold weather that traveled through a couple of weeks ago hurt the strawberry crop this year from producing as much fruit. Strawberries need the nights to stay warm in order for the plants to reach their fullest fruit bearing potential. We had no problems finding fruit, though, there were a ton of berries waiting for us. There were also a ton of people picking and waiting to pick.
If you aren’t a strawberry fan, Ohio offers other terrific fruit and vegetable picking options. There are many farms that allow you to pick your own, which is a wonderful family and friend outing with the kids. A great site is Pickyourown.org because it not only has information on what is available for picking, but when and where. For instance, you can’t pick strawberries all summer. The season is only from around May 20 to the end of June – June 25 to be exact. Check out the Ohio Harvest Calendar for picking fruits and veggies: here or here is another calendar that charts it out in color: Our Ohio’s What’s In Season chart. Those time tables will help you know when your favorite fruits and vegetables are in season to pick or get at the market….if you aren’t already growing them in your own garden.
Some of the farms we have visited and liked are Doran’s Farm Market, Lynd Fruit Farm, Jacquemin Farms, and Circle S. Or visit Pickyourown.org for a farm near you. You can’t go wrong. I would just be sure when you call to ask if the farm is low-chemical. Organic u-picks are hard to find, but most farms are using chemicals sparingly nowadays.
Here are a few suggestions if you plan to go “a pickin’”:
- Bring sunscreen and slather it on.
- Hats are a necessary accessory for you and your children. Not only do they protect you from the sun, but without sunglasses it is easier to see the color of the fruit.
- Call ahead. I learned this lesson this year. Because of the cold weather some farms closed for a few days to let the strawberries ripen for picking, and one farm was picked out before we even got there.
- Go early!
- Most farms supply bags or baskets you can purchase for picking, but bring bags or containers just in case. Or just ask when you call ahead so you know what you need.
- Strollers are cumbersome. Wear your baby or let your kids walk.
- Bring cash. Many farms accept credit, but just in case….
- Wear sturdy shoes and jeans. My kids complained because the grass was scratchy, and when I got home they had grass welts. No biggie – but we want our kids to be comfy, don’t we?
- Bring your camera. You can bring home your fruit bounty and your bounty of Kodak moments.
- Think about what you want to do with what you pick so it doesn’t spoil. I am making strawberry jam with mine – the berries are only two days old and starting to soften. I need to get a move on!!