Strawberry-picking is considered a rite of spring on Long Island. That's when a dozen or so farmers open their fields and dole out quart-size containers for pickers to fill with fruit.

WHEN TO GO

Farming isn't an exact science. Strawberry-lovers know the length of the season varies from year to year, depending on the rain, heat and sun. Many fields plan to open this weekend for the earliest wave of picking - other growers say they expect their fruit to be at its ripest in another week. 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.

WHAT IT COSTS

U-pick strawberries are typically sold by the quart - expect to pay about $3 to $4 this season. Strawberries already picked are running about $4.50 to $6 a quart at farm stands.

WHERE TO GO

Anderson Farms : Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead, 631-727-2559, 631-727-1129. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, beginning June 8.

Condzella : Route 25A east of William Floyd Parkway, Wading River, 631-929-5058. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, beginning May 30.

Densieski Farms : Lewis Road, East Quogue, 631-653-5221. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, beginning around June 8.

Domaleski Farms : Route 48, Mattituck, 631-734-6886. Open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Fritz Lewin Farms : 1989 Sound Ave. (at Edwards Avenue), Calverton, 631-727-3346. Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

Hank's Farm Stand : County Road 39, Southampton, 631-726-4667. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, beginning June 8.

Harbes Family Farm : 715 Sound Ave., Mattituck, 631-298-0800, 631-298-4679, harbesfamilyfarm.com . Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, beginning in mid-June.

Lewin Farms : Sound Avenue, Wading River, 631-929-4327. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Tuesdays.

May's Farm : Route 25A, Wading River, 631-929-6654. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

Rottkamp's Fox Hollow Farm : 2287 Sound Ave., Calverton, 631-727-1786. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, starting June 11.

Wickham's Fruit Farm : 28700 Rte. 25, Cutchogue, 631-734-6441, wickhamsfruitfarm.com . Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Windy Acres : Route 25, Calverton, 631-727-4554. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, beginning Saturday.