Summer is almost upon us. For Vermont fruit farmers, shortcake eaters, and berry enthusiasts, this means one thing strawberry season. Not strawberry season at the grocery store, where the giant berries tend to look like red, seed-covered versions of the Incredible Hulk, but strawberry season at your local berry farm, which passes so quickly, itll be gone before you can say freezer jam.
To help with the influx of ripened berries that need picking, many farms around the state offer to let you pick your own and buy as many as you can gather. For some, like the first customer at Charlotte Berry Farm on Saturday, thats almost 17 lbs. If youre feeling a little less ambitious, you can pick a flat, a quart, or as little as a pint.
Picking your own summer berries is a great activity to do with kids. Theyll work off some of that endless supply of energy running from patch to patch in search of the tastiest berries. After the requisite in-field taste testing and the abundance of fresh, delicious berries youll have on the ride home, you wont need to bring along a snack. And, in this era of omnivorous dilemmas and frightening uncertainty about whats really on our dinner plates, youll all be able to learn a little bit about where your food comes from.
Over the summer, many berry farms phase through strawberries to raspberries, and then on to blueberries, though some specialize in one fruit. Each location is different, so its best to call ahead to ask about their hours and picking schedule. Click here for a list of pick-your-own places to try this strawberry season.
This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.