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Pick Your Own Strawberries

apronista Jun 12, 2008 09:49 AM

I'm looking for a good spot near Boston to pick my own strawberries. Does anyone have any recommendations for good P.Y.O. strawberry farms in the area?

  1. hiddenboston Jun 22, 2008 05:53 PM

    We ended up returning to Sunshine Farms in Sherborn yesterday (we went last year, too, and have been to their nursery and farm stand several times). There were so many strawberries that it took us all of 15 minutes to get what we needed. Prices were pretty good--$2.00 to pick, plus $2.25 (give or take 25 cents?) per pound, and the place is very low-key and mellow.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hiddenboston
      c
      CorgiTrbl May 29, 2009 05:20 PM

      Im a student in Boston and am pretty much limited to wherever the T and the commuter rail can get me. Are there any pick-your-own strawberry farms accessible by T? Or is a zipcar pretty much necessary?

      Thanks!

    2. litchick Jun 21, 2008 01:11 PM

      We went to the Verrill Farms Strawberry fest today -- wonderful! Arrived around 12:30. Lots of good quality berries, bright red with good sweetness. Got a big flat of berries, which came to about $28. We took advantage of the food stands and got ourselves a bunch of strawberry shortcake, which was delicious. The cake was firm with a good crumb -- dry enough to be a good base for the strawberries, but not too dry to enjoy on its own. The strawberry topping was really fresh and not overly sugary. I had mine w/out the cream, but my pals reported that the cream was also well made with a good flavor and texture.

      Overall, a great festival.

      2 Replies
      1. re: litchick
        s
        sablemerle Jun 21, 2008 07:35 PM

        We went to Verrill Farm as well, today. You could literally smell the ripe-berry perfume of the strawberry field from the road.

        Price for PYO is 2.75 per pound (3 piled-high to overflowing quart boxes came to $11). Weekday hours are 9 - 1; Weekends 9-3 (although we left after 4 and there were still a few folks picking in the field.)

        1. re: sablemerle
          s
          skoenigsberg Jun 22, 2008 12:10 PM

          Thanks everyone for the Verrill recommendation. We beat the thunderstorms there today and my fingers are now stained from cut, freeze, cut, freeze. Why did I think we'd use so many quarts of berries?? Fun place, nice farm stand, and berries as sweet and tasty as ones I remember from a California farmers' market many years ago.

      2. Gio Jun 18, 2008 05:57 PM

        I read today that this coming week-end at Wilson Farm in Lexington is their Strawberry Festival.
        http://www.wilsonfarm.com/croppedup.html

        3 Replies
        1. re: Gio
          macca Jun 19, 2008 03:28 AM

          Thanks for the heads up- Planning on going to Wilsons this Saturday- and will make sure I get there later than usual- Last year on Strawberry day, we got there around 930 or so, and they were just setting up, so we missed it.

          1. re: macca
            Gio Jun 19, 2008 05:17 AM

            Last year we were there in the early afternoon and that huge strawberry shortcake that was under the tent outside was almost gone!

            1. re: Gio
              LindaWhit Jun 23, 2008 09:56 AM

              That ginormous strawberry shortcake was just being finished and cut into when I left Wilson Farms last year - the anticipation on the faces of the kids surrounding the thing was fun to see!

        2. l
          LDoll13 Jun 17, 2008 12:29 PM

          Connors Farm Stand
          30 Valley Road (Route 35)
          Danvers, MA
          978-777-1245
          Route 1N to Route 62E to Route 35N.
          Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

          Russell Orchards
          143 Argilla Road
          Ipswich, MA
          978-356-5366
          russellorchardsma.com
          Route 128N to Route 1A north, to Route 133 toward Essex. Follow signs.
          Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

          4 Replies
          1. re: LDoll13
            Bob MacAdoo Jun 17, 2008 03:38 PM

            I visited Russell Orchards last year with the kids for their strawberry festival. Freshness is assured, along with a hay ride, live music, and sundry treats like fresh strawberry ice cream.

            1. re: Bob MacAdoo
              saridt Jun 21, 2008 03:35 PM

              We went to the strawberry festival today and it was just as reported above. Nice strawberry shortcake and picked up some cider donuts to take home. Picking was plentiful and we got lots of sweet, dark berries. It also gave us the excuse to stop at The Clam Box on the way home!

              1. re: saridt
                Bob MacAdoo Jun 22, 2008 12:48 PM

                The Clam Box is an added bonus.

            2. re: LDoll13
              Kip McSkipster Jun 22, 2008 07:10 AM

              Was also at the Russell festival yesterday (after a trip to Crane Beach nearby), which was pleasant. Had some fantastic stuff: super-fresh strawberry ice cream, strawberry cider (which I didn't see available to take home, only available by the cup), and also took home a strawberry pie which was devoured after dinner. The one misstep was the actual strawberries! Did PYO, and while there was easy pickins, the berries were not especially sweet, kind of tart and flavorless.

              Speaking of strawberry cider, has anyone spied any elsewhere? It was terrific - not too sweet, surprisingly light and refreshing!

            3. d
              dibbida Jun 17, 2008 05:55 AM

              Smolak farm in North Andover has a strawberry festival, bake shop, ice cream stand and pick your own. I love this place, there is a small playground and animal viewing area.

              2 Replies
              1. re: dibbida
                Chris VR Jun 18, 2008 10:05 AM

                I've generally been a fan of Smolak but the last few years I've gone for strawberries, the fields have been pretty picked over. I suppose you could say that of any place if you go at the wrong time.... but this year I think we're going to head to Cider Hill.

                1. re: Chris VR
                  Chris VR Jun 19, 2008 01:22 PM

                  Cider Hill's berries were GORGEOUS today. Just stellar. Easily filled 2 quarts, and tons still to come.

              2. f
                foodymom Jun 14, 2008 05:32 PM

                My son and I made it to Sunshine Farm this morning. They had a nice assortment, but they said that next weekend would really be the best. They also said that it only will last about 10 days. However, they have added more plantings for next year, as well as more blueberry and raspberry for this year. We spent about 8 for 2 quarts (I think they charge 2/person and about 2/quart....still cheaper than the store and it is local and organic.

                1. Kip McSkipster Jun 14, 2008 10:37 AM

                  Just visited Land's Sake in Weston for PYO. It's definitely early - I suspect next weekend will be killer. Was still able to fill a couple of quart cartons ($4/ea) with super-sweet, ripe berries.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Kip McSkipster
                    TheTrout Jun 16, 2008 10:29 AM

                    Another vote for Land's Sake. Always high quality pickins & was my son's favorite spot when he was 4-5 years old. The good news was that they didn't weigh him before he started picking and when we were leaving. He could eat his weight in fresh berries! Also, a big bonus with Land's Sake: as far as I know they are the closet to Boston for 'pick your own". With gas prices so high, who needs to drive 45 min. each way to pick berries.....

                  2. Gio Jun 14, 2008 04:46 AM

                    Connor's Farm in Danvers on Rte. 97, and Marini Farm in Ipswich on the Linebrook both have PYO available.

                    1. t
                      taxi Jun 12, 2008 04:28 PM

                      Brooksby Farms in Peabody off Lowell St. which is off Route 1. Has an area for a picnic along with some small farm animals. Also, a fruit/veggie store.

                      1. f
                        foodymom Jun 12, 2008 04:12 PM

                        I also enjoy Sunshine Farms and Verrill. Even better (especially for families), both have strawberry festivals next weekend. You can pick berries, enjoy ice cream and music, etc. IWhile you are there, buy some scones at Verrill (best I have had).

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: foodymom
                          hiddenboston Jun 12, 2008 07:31 PM

                          Their festivals are a week from this weekend? It's still a bit early right now to pick, isn't it? I was thinking of going out on Saturday, but may wait a week.

                          1. re: hiddenboston
                            s
                            Splendid Spatula Jun 16, 2008 10:10 AM

                            My son and husband picked at Verrill this past Saturday (6/14). Brought home four quarts of spectacularly gorgeous and tasty berries. The clouds may retard growth this week, but don't wait too long!

                        2. Food4Thought Jun 12, 2008 03:37 PM

                          Just received and email from Cider Hill Farms in Amesbury, that expects a very good PYO season between 6/17 and 7/4.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Food4Thought
                            Bob Dobalina Jun 22, 2008 11:11 AM

                            Went here yesterday - $2.50 / lb. - LOTS of berries with good flavor, but not a lot of huge ones, yet.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina
                              Bob Dobalina Jun 23, 2008 06:56 AM

                              BTW, if you are in the general area, we stopped for an ice cream at Gram's in Newburyport - had the MOST amazing scoop of hazelnut cappuccino - there had to have been 3 nuts in every bite - absolutely festooned with them - and great flavor to boot. Best scoop I have had in a really long time.

                          2. t
                            tschuetz Jun 12, 2008 12:15 PM

                            Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon... short drive south.

                            Belkin Family Lookout farm in Wellesley... which I believe starts picking this weekend.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: tschuetz
                              t
                              taves7 Jun 18, 2008 11:01 AM

                              I went to Belkin on Sunday. Got some great strawberries. However, it is not a very good deal. $8 admission and $6/quart. So we paid $28 for 2 quarts of strawberries.

                              1. re: taves7
                                LindaWhit Jun 23, 2008 09:57 AM

                                They CHARGE to get in to pick? And then charge twice as much as other places to pick your own?

                            2. hiddenboston Jun 12, 2008 11:31 AM

                              I really like Sunshine Farms in Sherborn. It's not a very big place for picking strawberries, but it's in a nice, mostly rural area and not too far from Boston. We went last year and had a lot of fun picking there (and we got a LOT of strawberries--must have hit it just right).

                              1. d
                                Dinsdale45 Jun 12, 2008 10:41 AM

                                Parlee's, literally behind our home in Chelmsford, has picking going on now. Here's another comprehensive website:

                                http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/str...

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Dinsdale45
                                  mjg0725 Jun 12, 2008 12:34 PM

                                  Love Parlees. I was talking to the owner one time and somehow Parlee's farm "tricked" their strawberry plants into producing well into the summer. Have you ever noticed that they are available when their corn is available? They are smaller and very sweet.

                                  1. re: mjg0725
                                    a
                                    autopi Jun 13, 2008 09:09 AM

                                    just checked the parlee site, and they're only allowing *very* restricted hours--8-10am today, for instance. it might be better to wait a week or so.

                                    1. re: autopi
                                      mjg0725 Jun 13, 2008 03:45 PM

                                      They are open for the PYO hseason. I was there this evening at 5pm and there was about 25 people picking in the field. I bought a quart for $5.50, but PYO price is closer to $3.50/qt. They said they had about 250 people there today.

                                2. s
                                  shaebones Jun 12, 2008 10:13 AM

                                  Boston Globe printed a long list of strawberry pickin' places yesterday.
                                  http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: shaebones
                                    apronista Jun 12, 2008 10:16 AM

                                    Thank you -- That list is great! I just read that there's a Strawberry Dessert Festival going on in the area this week too. 'Tis the season!

                                  2. macca Jun 12, 2008 10:04 AM

                                    Also- Boston Hill Farm on Rte 114 in North Andover. They also have ice cream and a small petting zoo. Not sure if they have started picking yet. Here is the link

                                    http://www.bostonhillfarm.com/

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: macca
                                      macca Jun 14, 2008 03:44 AM

                                      Noticed the PYO sign was up Friday afternoon- and the field was full of people picking strawberries.

                                    2. v
                                      Valyn Jun 12, 2008 09:51 AM

                                      Verrill Farm in Concord or Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. Both are well run. Verrill has started to harvest theirs (I bought some at their store yesterday and they are great), but I don't think Drumlin has yet.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Valyn
                                        a
                                        autopi Jun 12, 2008 10:12 AM

                                        i believe verrill's strawberry festival is next saturday, june 21.

                                        1. re: Valyn
                                          t
                                          tdaaa Jun 13, 2008 09:43 AM

                                          Drumlin Farms has a PYO fathers day event this sunday... Thought about taking the kids on the way to my fathers for strawberry shortcake. I just love the sun-warmed strawberries straight from the field.

                                          Drumlin also has PYO raspberries later in the season. It is one of the few places with golden raspberries - I came across these by accident one year and was astounded at how much better they were than the red raspberries. They made the fresh picked red raspberries taste like Driscolls winter raspberries. Very soft, however, and didn't travel very well.

                                          1. re: tdaaa
                                            t
                                            tdaaa Jun 23, 2008 10:49 AM

                                            Went to Drumlin farm yesterday for PYO, 5$/qt - still many unripe berries but plenty of nice, warm sweet ones to pick (and eat). Made jam last night, just delicious.

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