This is the final week for strawberry picking at most u-pick farms. Call and check with your favorite farm for availability for any day this week or this weekend. Yesterday morning my friend Liz and I went to an East End farm called The Berry Patch near Standston Va. For $2.16? (I've already forgotten) per pound you can pick two different varieties of strawberries. In the end I picked about 8 quarts or about 10lbs of strawberries for $23. (on average a quart weighs about 1.25lbs) We called ahead and they warned us that the plants were fairly picked over and no longer setting much fruit, but with a little extra time spent picking we did alright.
Once I got home I found This good website called Pickyourown.org The website covers the whole of the United States, plus Australia and a few other countries, but The link I provided here is within their Southeastern Virgina site and contains a number of u-pick farms, a seasonal availability chart, information on how to pick, preserve, and prepare your freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. Links to sites for purchasing canning equipment and books on the subject and more. I learned that I made one fast mistake by washing my strawberries right away. The site says you should not wash the berries until you are ready to eat them, because the washing will make them spoil faster. I've have learned that blueberries have a protective coating (that slightly white and waxy looking outer layer that should not be washed off until your ready to eat them, and of course fresh farm eggs as well... so why not strawberries?)
You can contact The Berry Patch at 804-795-9979.
I am gearing up for Blueberry season just a few weeks away! This year we have found an organic farm that has U-pick Blueberries....very exciting! Stay tuned.