One of the special things about living in Bucks County is the opportunity to pick your own produce. Hopefully you’ve had the pleasure of picking strawberries, straight from the vine after a long day in the sun. I remember being able to bike from my house all the way to Brumbaugh’s Farm in Telford, if I dared. Why risk balancing containers filled with delicious strawberries all the way down County Line?
If you’re like me and you have some fond memories of picking strawberries in the early summer heat, then you’ll be excited to know that strawberry season is upon us! This year should be a good one, weather permitting.
On the East Coast, strawberries should be ready for pick-your-own by mid-May or early June. Because of the unexpected cold weather earlier this spring, many farms have been carefully tending to their crops, as an attempt to bring the berries back to life.
This year, expect to see some farms with pick-your-own by the end of May, and expect others to have their strawberries ready early to mid-June. When you do head out into the fields, be sure to call farms first before making the trip, or check their Facebook pages for updates. Here are some other berry picking tips:
- Always call before showing up at the farm. Depending on the weather, berries may not be ripe or may be picked out. Ask them if you need to bring your own containers. It isn’t a bad idea to check out a farm’s website, which usually has good information, or pick up the phone and give them a good ol’ fashion call.
- Only pick firm, plump and fully red berries. Unripe strawberries won’t ripen after being picked. Grasp the stem just above the berry, between the forefinger and thumbnail. Then pull, with a slight twisting motion. Be gentle putting them in the container.
- Help out the farmers by removing any rotten, bug-eaten or other “bad” berries. Rot will spread quickly to the “good” berries.
- As far as strawberries are concerned, size DOESN’T matter. As long as they are completely red, they’re good to pick. Some even say that the smaller berries taste better.
- The best time to pick strawberries is early on a cool, cloudy day. They’ll last longer than in the heat. Plus, you won’t end up looking like a berry from sunburn!
- Once picked, keep them out of the sun and heat as much as possible. Cool them down as soon as you can. And never wash them until you’re ready to use them—moisture will hasten rotting. Here are some other tips on cleaning strawberries properly.
- Try not to pile the berries more than 5 inches deep in your container. The ones on the bottom will start to bruise from the weight.
- Don’t pick more than you’re going to use. Strawberries will quickly mold at room temperature and will only last a couple of days in the fridge. If you’re not going to use them right away, wash them, cut off the hulls and freeze them in a zipper bag (be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible).
Where to PYO strawberries
Brumbaugh’s Farm 2575 County Line Rd., Telford, PA 18969, 215.723.3508. Strawberries projected to be available mid-June; call before going to check on availability as it changes every day.
Hellerick’s Family Farm 5500 Easton Rd. (Rt. 611), Doylestown, PA 18902, 215.766.8388. Strawberries in season now; PYO expected to begin Memorial Day weekend. Call to check, or visit their Facebook page for updated posts.
Manoff Market Gardens 3157 Comfort Rd., Solebury, PA 18963, 215.297.8220. Strawberries are being harvested, call to see when PYO begins.
None Such Farm Market 4458 York Rd. (Rt. 263), Buckingham, PA 18912, 215.794.5201. Strawberries expected early June. Available for PYO this year, call or check their Facebook to see when the berries arrive.
Milk House Farm Market 1118 Slack Road Newtown, PA 18940, 215.852.4305. Strawberries are available for pick your own. Store hours everyday, 9 am – 7 pm. They also sell at the Wrightstown Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Milk House Farm uses organic farming methods.
Penn Vermont Fruit Farm Rt. 113 & Rolling Hills Rd., Bedminster, PA 18910, 215.795.2475. Pick your own projected to start soon. They’re putting updates on their Facebook page and you can also check by calling 215.795.0230 and listening to the voice recording, which they will update as they know more.
Shady Brook Farm 931 Stony Hill Rd., Yardley, PA 19067, 215.968.1670. Strawberries available for purchase. Pick your own projected to start early June. Any time the market is open.
Solly’s Farm Market 707 Almshouse Rd., Ivyland, PA 18974, 215.357.2850. Strawberries will be available for purchase and pick your own is open. Call ahead as produce availability changes day-to-day.
Tabora Farm 1104 Upper Stump Rd., Chalfont, PA 18914, 215.249.3016. Strawberries and pick your own available early June. Call to check for availability.
The Market at DelVal by Shady Brook Farm 2100 Lower State Road, Doylestown, PA 18901, 215-230-7170. Pick your own strawberries will be available early June.
Trauger’s Farm Market Rt. 611, Kintnersville, PA 18930, 610.847.5702. Strawberries projected to be available for pick your own by next week (first week of June). Call the market for availability.
Milk House Farm (information above) uses only organic farming methods.