We love to let the kids run through North Fork farms and pick fresh fruits and vegetables during peak seasons. Over the years, I’ve figured out a few great strawberry picking tips that I’d like to share with you in case you are heading out for some finger licking fun as well.
Strawberry Picking Tips For Families
Have you ever wanted to pick your own strawberries? It is such a fun way to spend some time together with the kids. When it comes to strawberry picking there are a few thoughts that will help make sure that you pick decent strawberries and everyone heads home with your bellies full.
I must be honest, picking strawberries at the height of the strawberry picking season is one of my favorite things to do. There’s nothing quite like a fresh, ripe bright red strawberries from a local farm.
Here’s everything we think about before driving out to the North Fork – our local haunt for such adventures – with the kids to get our cravings satisfied.
Have Containers Ready
While you’ll probably be at a strawberry picking farm that offers their own containers for you to place the strawberries in, you’ll need to think about something for your car during the ride home. We usually get several containers as a party of five and things get messy during our long ride home if I don’t remember to bring a plastic bin to store our harvest.
While this isn’t required, I promise you that you will thank me later once finished strawberry picking. Rogue strawberries tend to go flying while in transit and they can make quite a mess. If you have everything in one bin, they won’t have anywhere to go.
While we are talking about this, bring wipes and a plastic bag for stems because everyone will be eating the strawberries on the way home. You can! They are so fresh! When we pick… we pick and eat. One each! Otherwise, it’s not fair to the farmer.
As soon as we get in the car, however, all bets are OFF. Everyone grabs a few for the road and they are just so scrumptious.
Spot the Red
When it comes to strawberry picking, it’s important that you look for the darkest red. Since strawberries will not continue to ripen after you’ve picked them, it’s important that you spot the richest colors. You’ve heard that saying right? The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice? Well, it’s true!
A strawberry that’s ripe enough to pick will be red in color, plump, and feel firm when you touch it. Try to tell your children to look out for all three of these qualities. These strawberry picking tips will result is delicious and tasty berries that everyone will love. NO DUDS!
Have A Pep Talk With The Kids
You need to talk to your children about what NOT to pick as much as you need to talk to them about is appropriate for consumption. My little guy had his eyes on the wrong prize in the beginning. He was fixated on rotting strawberries that were lying on the ground and half rotted.
You think I am kidding, but I am not. Ants and bugs crawling all over them – he thought that was the coolest thing. Just show your kids that the strawberries can’t show any white, must not have any holes in them, and preferably shouldn’t already be eaten by bugs.
WE KNOW THIS, but they do NOT. Out of all of my strawberry picking tips, this one sounds the most ridiculous, but I promise you, if you have little ones, you need to go through these motions.
Pick by the Stem
Strawberry picking is all about getting the best berries possible for you to enjoy when you get home. But you also have to worry about next season and how you are helping or hurting the farm. This means you’ll need to know the best way to pick a strawberry from the patch. We all want the strawberries to come back next year, right?
You should pick a strawberry by the stem about one inch above the strawberry. Place an index finger and thumb on the stem and have the strawberry rested easily in the palm of your hand to avoid bruising or dropping.
Kids just YANK! They practically yank from the root. They are strong and fast and not thinking when they are excited. Show them this step in the very beginning because if they pull at the wrong part of the plant, the strawberry won’t be able to come back next season.
Wear Light Clothing
Don’t forget about what you are going to wear! When it comes to picking your own strawberries, the sunshine is a serious factor. There are no trees in an open field.
B sure to wear light clothing, sunscreen, and a hat or visor if possible. This will deter the sun from overheating your body and burning your skin. You’ll also want to wear comfortable shoes that allow you to easily walk in the fields without getting blisters or achy feet.
Walk On The Paths Only
This is another super important thing to note. On the fields, you will see paths or walkways naturally worn out. Tell your children to stay on those paths.
If they start running around and hopping from one area to another, they can step on the strawberries and potentially harm the plant. Strawberry picking is loads of fun, but be responsible.
Pick Your Own Strawberries
While many farms will have strawberries pre-picked for their guests in containers, it’s always fun to pick your own strawberries. This activity will provide lasting memories for sure!
Are you a New York local? Heading to the North Fork on Long Island and don’t know where to begin? We love to go strawberry picking on the North Fork. There are so many places to visit!
I wanted to share these tips as well as share a few strawberry farms near Long Island just in case you ever come out to my neck of the woods!
Strawberry Picking Near Me
- Condzella’s Farm — 6233 North Country Road Wading River http://www.condzellasfarm.com
- Glover Farms —633 Victory Avenue Brookhaven https://www.gloverfarmsbrookhaven.com
- Lewin Farms —812 Sound Avenue Calverton http://www.lewinfarm.com/
- Garden of Eve Organic Farm – 4558 Sound AvenueRiverhead http://gardenofevefarm.com/
- Rottkamp’s Fox Hollow Farm —2287 Sound Avenue Baiting Hollow – Visit their site
- Wickham’s Fruit Farm —28700 Main Road (Route 25) Cutchogue http://www.wickhamsfruitfarm.com/
- Windy Acres Farm —3810 Middle Country Road Calverton – Visit their site
These pick your own strawberries farms are all near the Long Island area. I truly hope you make plans to venture out here while the weather is right during the height of the strawberry season. And I hope these ideas help you out while you are on your adventure.
And once you pick your own strawberries and everyone is home, what will you do with all of those berries? I know! You can make a few of my super fun desserts and appetizer ideas! Here are some strawberry recipes for you to consider.