I am so excited that it is strawberry season. Who's with me? I mean come on, they are the sweetest, most versatile berries out there. Strawberry picking is one of our favorite things to do. It is fun for the whole family and a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Buffalo weather. Plus the sweet, tasty berries are a favorite in our house.
We usually make a visit to Greg's U-Pick at least once a year. Sometimes twice. They are very organized. You can bring your own quart containers or buy some there. They have five varieties of strawberries available on 12 acres of fields. Strawberries grow on bushes, making it super easy for those little pickers. They just bend down and pull the berries off the bush, putting them into the containers - or in their mouth!
My girls love it. They see who can pick the most, of course. It is worth noting, they do not accept credit cards at Greg's U-Pick. We learned the hard way one year as we dug through our car seats and floor, pockets and purse for enough change. (You pay after you pick.) Obviously, the red strawberry juice usually ends up all over the kiddos and their clothing. So be sure to put some not-favorite clothes on them. And bring some wet-wipes, too, to get the stickiness off of their arms and legs. I also recommend sneakers, not flip-flops or sandals. Again, they'll get dirty.
It's fun, gets the kids outside and look at the reward - fresh strawberries. (Mary Friona-Celani/Special to The News)We usually spend about an hour and a half picking the berries, but you can stay as long as you like. It wasn't packed when we were there last, which was nice. It is a good idea to go early in the morning, before it gets too hot outside.
It is a big, open area with rows and rows and rows of strawberry bushes. The truth is, whether you like strawberry jam, pie, or shortcake that picking your own makes it taste better for sure. Just keep in mind, the season is very short. It only lasts about three or four weeks. Usually mid-June to early July.
Greg's U-Pick Farm
9270 Lapp Road, Clarence
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (always weather permitting)
Cost: One, two or three quarts are $4.25 each; four quarts or more are $3.75 each.
Note: Credit cards are not accepted, so be sure to bring cash.
Something to keep in mind: Blueberry season begins the third week of July, red raspberry season starts mid-August.
There are many places where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables. Many have stands and markets with already-picked produce and other items. Here are just three:
Thorpe's Organic Family Farm, 12866 Route 78, East Aurora
This 2,000-plus acre certified organic farm has a store where you can buy flats of fruit and vegetables as well as a u-pick option. The store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Info on u-pick can be found daily on the farm's Facebook and website.
Becker Farms, 3724 Quaker Road, Gasport
In addition to strawberries, Becker Farms has blueberries, raspberries, apples, cherries, bell peppers, grapes, rhubarb and a lot more available in season. The farm market and bakery are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The farm expects u-pick strawberries available through June, but suggests - as with all produce - that you call first to see what will be available that day. Call 772-2211.
Coulter Farm Markets, corner of Routes 93 and 425 in Lockport
The u-pick season at this market is generally June and July when you can get strawberries, and later raspberries, cherries and peas. Market hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Monday through Saturday. An info line is 434-5700. The market phone is 433-8300.