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.
With this spring's lingering chill and long stretches of rain, Long Island's own harvest is going to be hearty, if a bit slower to ripen.
"Even though the crop is a bit late, the quality of the berries is good," says Jeffrey Rottkamp of Rottkamp’s Fox Hollow Farm in Baiting Hollow. “We just can’t help that weather dictates agriculture.”
Pick-your-own strawberries are generally sold by the quart on Long Island — from $4 to $6.50 each — with fields open on a day-to-day basis. Farmers recommend calling ahead to check conditions and hours.
Garden of Eve Organic Farm
The farm's U-pick field is part of it's ticketed-admission play area that includes petting animals, play structures and on weekends, a hayride around the field. Admission is $7.95 at the farm ($5 advance online) for ages 3 and older, plus $6 a pint for strawberries. Info: 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead; 631-722-8777, Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily gardenofevefarm.com
Lewis Road, East Quogue; 631-653-5221, Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily (closed Wednesdays)
633 Victory Ave., Brookhaven; 631-286-7876, gloverfarmsbrookhaven.com. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
Patty's Berries and Bunches
Each picker entering the field must purchase at least one container, Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Info: 410 Sound Ave., Mattituck; 631-655-7996, pattysberriesandbunches.com.
Info: 812 Sound Ave., Wading River; 631-929-4327,Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays. www.lewinfarm.com.
6233 North Country Rd. (Route 25A), Wading River; 631-929-4697, condzellasfarm.com. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
Rottkamp's Fox Hollow Farm
2287 Sound Ave., Calverton; 631-727-1786, Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sundays (hours vary on Fridays)
Wickham's Fruit Farm
28700 Main Rd., Route 25, Cutchogue; 631-734-6441, wickhamsfruitfarm.com. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays.
Windy Acres Farm
3810 Middle Country Rd., Route 25, Calverton; 631-727-4554. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
HANK’S FARM STAND 326 County Road 39A, Southampton INFO 631-726-4667, Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (picking field closes at 5:30 p.m.). hankspumpkintown.com.