Strawberries are yours for the picking

Operations at most farms will be ready by next weekend

Go Play

May 20, 2006|By LIZ ATWOOD | LIZ ATWOOD,SUN REPORTER

The cool temperatures and recent rains may have put a damper on the Little League games and picnics, but the weather has been a boon for one kind of family entertainment: picking your own strawberries.

"I think the crop looks very good," said Dwight Baugher of Baugher's Farm Orchard Market in Carroll County. "Strawberries really like this cool weather. This kind of weather is perfect."

Strawberry season is just beginning in the Baltimore area. Some farms began allowing customers to pick last week, and nearly all pick-your-own operations will have berries ready by next weekend.

At Shaw Orchards in White Hall, the berries should be ready by the middle of next week, said owner Mary Sue Shaw, who noted a number of advantages to picking your own berries. "It's family fun," she said. "And you're assured of freshness."

An hour or two in the country can also be the perfect antidote to a stressful week in the office. "You can get out and relax," Shaw said. "It's awfully peaceful."

Expect to pay between $1.49 and $1.65 a pound for pick-your-own strawberries, says Maryland Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Kate Wagner.

Here are some farms in the Baltimore area that offer pick-your-own strawberries. It's always a good idea to call ahead to be sure the berries are available.

Anne Arundel County

Mount Airy U-Pick Farm 832 Mount Airy Road Davidsonville 21035 410-798-1862, 410-798-0838

Baltimore County

Huber's Family Produce Farm Route 7 and Raphel Road Bradshaw 21087 410-679-1941, 410-679-1948 (recorded message), 410-538-7725

Shaw Orchards 5591 Norrisville Road White Hall 21161 410-692-2429, 717-993-2974 shaworchards.com

Carroll County

Baugher's Farm Orchard Market 1236 Baugher Road Westminster 21158 410-848-5541 (office), 410-857-0111 (recording)

Harford County

Brad's Produce 550 Asbury Road Churchville 21028 410-734-GROW,410-569-7288

Jones Farm Market 2100 Philadelphia Road Edgewood 21040 410-676-3709

Lohr's Orchard 3212 Snake Lane Churchville 21028 410-836-2783

Howard County

Larriland Farm Inc. 2415 Route 94/Woodbine Road Woodbine 21797 410-442-2605

liz.atwood@baltsun.com

How to pick a good berry

When picking a berry, make sure that it is red all the way around, including the area on the tip, which is the last to mature.

Leave on the cap and a little bit of the stem to make berries last longer.

Check for firmness, but don't press too hard or you'll bruise the berry.

To avoid bruising, don't stack your berries too deeply in your container.

Refrigerate berries when you get home. If they won't be used within the week, they should be frozen.

[Shaw Orchards]

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