Are you a picky picker?

This past week I went strawberry picking twice.  I went on my way home from work one night, stopping to pick 4 quarts.  Sunday, I stopped to pick on the way to my parents house. My daughter and I managed 5 quarts in 20 minutes.  The plants were plentiful with ripe fruit. It was hard to stop picking.  What made it even better was the price: $2/quart!  (If I wanted to buy a quart of strawberries already picked it would cost me $3.75.)

I picked at Kern Farm in Basom, NY (point B on the map).  It’s not far from the Western Door gas station (point A on the map) where I sometimes buy my gas on the Indian reservation.    I realize this location is not convenient for most people but it’s just a few miles off the Pembroke exit of the NY state thruway.  My sister and I went there last year to pick berries. Andrea picked enough there this past week to qualify for the volume discount price of $1.50/quart.  I looked into the price of picking strawberries at the Greg’s U Pick farm in Clarence and their website says if you pick strawberries there it will cost you $3.75/quart for the first 3 quarts or $3.25 for 4 quarts or more ($.25 more than last year’s prices).

There are dozens of farms in western NY where you can do the picking.  The website lists many of them, organized by county.  I’m sure there are others which aren’t listed.  Some of the more popular farms for picking in the Rochester area are Gro-Moore (their strawberry fields are in Rush) and Green Acre in Greece.

Tips for picking fruits and vegetables:

1) Bring your own containers. Save up containers from store bought berries to use for picking.  Save containers from year to year.  Farms may charge you a fee if you need to get containers from them.

2) Bring cash.  A lot of farm markets don’t take credit cards.

3) Check prices ahead of time.  Check the farm’s website or call for pricing.  You don’t want to get there only to find out they’re much more expensive than you anticipated.

4) Check hours of operation.  Call or check their website.  Be sure they are open when you intend to pick.  Some farms are closed to picking one day a week.  Some close earlier in the day.

5) Pick earlier in the day if you can.  That way you get the best choice of fruit.

6) Have a plan for what you’re going to do with all your bounty.  It’s great if you have the time to pick 20 quarts but if you can’t do something with the majority of them in a short period of time then you might end up throwing them away when they start to go bad.  Valid choices are: freezing, making jam, making pies and other baked goods, giving them to friends/family.    When picking this week I stuck with what I knew I could deal with given my crazy schedule.  Here’s a great Strawberry Cobbler recipe I got from Family Circle has been a hit.

7) Bring friends and family.  Children love to pick fruit and eat it fresh.  I don’t recommend bringing toddlers since they have a tendency to trample low lying berries like strawberries.  The more people in your party the faster it goes

8) Act quickly.  Strawberry season is short and will be gone before you know it.

I’d like to hear about your favorite place to pick berries.