It's strawberry fields time out east

Strawberry picking at Harbes Family Farm on Sound Strawberry picking at Harbes Family Farm on Sound Avenue in Mattituck. (June 2007) Photo Credit: Newsday

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There's not much that beats the taste of a ripe, sun-warmed strawberry -- unless you've got a whole quart of them. This is the time when Long Island farmers open their fields to customers to pick their berries. Here's what you need to know to make your outings fun and fruitful.

WHEN TO GO

Long Island's colder, wetter spring means slow picking for strawberry lovers this year.

"We really haven't had a spring," says Mary Lewin of Fritz Lewin Farms in Calverton. "We went from cold to hot. Strawberries like warm days and cool nights for the best yield."

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While some fields are open now, it may just take a little longer to fill that quart container.

"There will be strawberries in early June, but the second and third weeks of June should be the best picking," says Faye Anderson, co-owner of Anderson Farms Riverhead.

To lengthen the season, many farms plant multiple varieties of berries that are ready early and late.

If you're going picking, it's best to call ahead to make sure the fields are open and not too wet or picked out for the day. Some farms stop taking pickers within a half-hour of closing.

@Newsday

WHAT IT COSTS

U-pick strawberries range from about $2.50 to $5 a quart, with already-picked strawberries running about $4.50 to $7 a quart at farm stands.

A few fields are now charging an admission fee -- many will waive the container fee (10 cents to 25 cents) if you bring your own.

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WHERE TO PICK BERRIES

Anderson Farms

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Riverhead Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead

631-727-2559

HOURS 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, U-pick closed Tuesday

CONTAINER FEE 10 cents a quart or 50 cents for 4-quart basket

Condzella's Farm

Route 25A east of William Floyd Parkway, Wading River631-929-5058

HOURS 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

CONTAINER FEE 10 cents to 25 cents

Densieski Farms

Lewis Road, East Quogue631-653-5221

HOURS 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

CONTAINER FEE To be determined

Domaleski Farms

Route 48, Mattituck631-734-6886

HOURS 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

No fee for containers.

Fritz Lewin Farms

Corner of Sound and Edwards avenues, Calverton631-727-3346

HOURS 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

CONTAINER FEE 50 cents (but you can bring your own)

Golden Earthworm Organic Farm

652 Peconic Bay Blvd., Jamesport631-722-3302

HOURS 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

No fee for containers.

Glover Farms

633 Victory Rd., Brookhaven631-286-2226

HOURS 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends

CONTAINER FEE 50 cents per quart, $1 4-quart container

Hank's Farm Stand

County Road 39, Southampton631-726-4667

HOURS 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

ADMISSION $5 (includes one quart of berries)

Lewin Farms

812 Sound Ave., Calverton631-929-4327

HOURS Varies

CONTAINER FEE 10 cents, but you can bring your own

Patty's Berries and Bunches

(Formerly Harbes Berry Farm)

410 Sound Ave., Mattituck631-298-4679, pattysberriesandbunches.com

HOURS 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

No fee for containers.

Rottkamp's Fox Hollow Farm

2287 Sound Ave., Calverton631-727-1786

HOURS 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday

Container fees.

Wickham's Fruit Farm

28700 Rte. 25, Cutchogue631-734-6441, wickhamsfruitfarm.com

HOURS 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday.

ADMISSION $20 annual U-pick club fee per family

Windy Acres

3810 Middle Country Rd. (Route 25), Calverton631-727-4554

HOURS 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

ADMISSION $1

No fee for containers.

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