This time of year, happiness comes in the shape of a bright-red, juicy strawberry. Smother it in chocolate, mix it with ice cream or add it to a drink, the local crop is a standout that comes but once a year. The quest to find the sweetest in the bunch starts in June, when berry-lovers head east to pick their own.
The experience "will be different this year with pickers practicing social distancing," says Gail Glover of Glover Farms in Brookhaven, where pickers will be required to wear masks. Other recommendations mapped out by the Cornell Small Farms Program, part of Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, include adding hand-washing stations and managing the flow of pickers through one-way rows or designated sections. “They’re open fields, so people won’t be on top of one another,” Glover says.
Farmers say this year's crop is not expected to be as abundant as in years past.
"We had one of the warmest winters and the coldest springs, so the weather delayed the blossoms," says Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht of Garden of Eve Organic Farm in Riverhead. "The berries may be more limited."
On Long Island, u-pick strawberry prices run about $4-$7 per quart. Call ahead before making a special trip to go berry-picking to confirm fields are open for the day.
WHERE TO PICK YOUR OWN
812 Sound Ave., Calverton
OPEN 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays. Call for availability.
INFO 631-929-4327, lewinfarm.com
Anderson's Farm Stand
1890 Roanoke Ave., Riverhead
OPEN 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays.
Sound Shore Farms and Market
5629 Sound Ave., Jamesport
OPEN 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily
633 Victory Ave., Brookhaven
OPEN 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily the month of June
INFO 631-286-7876, gloverfarmsbrookhaven.com
Patty's Berries and Bunches
410 Sound Ave., Mattituck
OPEN 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (last u-pick entrance is at 5:30 p.m.)
Each picker entering the field must purchase at least one container of strawberries, $7.
Wickham's Fruit Farm
28700 Main Rd. (Route 25), Cutchogue
OPEN 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 24-25. For the weekend call due to the season coming to an end.
INFO 631-734-6441 , wickhamsfruitfarm.com