Pick your own strawberry season 2014

strawberries in box in strawberry field at samascott

Always a happy sight.

Strawberry season in the greater Capital Region has arrived! Many local pick-your-own farms are now open for the season.

Many farms just opened PYO during the last week or so. The cold spring and some of the rainy weather of late has apparently held back -- or sort of paused -- many of the strawberry fields. But the recent run of sunny, warm weather has things picking up, and this coming weekend is looking like prime berry picking.

A typical strawberry season at many farms in this area only lasts a few weeks, though some farms have strawberries for longer stretches because their fields include a range of varieties. (It's always a good idea to call ahead or check the website before heading out.)

Here are a handful of places in the greater Capital Region that you can pick your own strawberries. Know of a good place not on this list? Please share!

Important: You should call ahead the day you're heading out to get the conditions.

Albany County

Altamont Orchards
6654 Dunnsville Road Altamont, NY 12009 (map)
(518) 861-6515
Pick your own has started.
Monday-Friday 8 am-12:30 pm | Saturday and Sunday 8 am-3 pm
PYO strawberries are $2.30/pound.
From the website: "Please bring your own containers... Bowls, Tuperware, berry baskets... Please Nothing too big, your berries will be crushed!"

Indian Ladder Farms
342 Altamont Rd, Altamont, NY (map)
(518) 765-2956
Pick your own has started.
Wednesday-Friday 9 am-1 pm | Saturday and Sunday 9-4 pm
Indian Ladder didn't offer PYO strawberries last year because it was replanting its field. Be sure to call ahead because they temporarily closed PYO this past weekend (June 15) because the ripe berries had been picked out.

Columbia County

Samascott Orchards
5 Sunset Ave, Kinderhook, NY (map)
(518) 758-7224
Pick your own has started.
Monday-Sunday 8 am-6 pm
PYO strawberries are $2/pound. Four-quart containers are 75 cents. (Or you can bring your own containers.) There's a $5/person minimum.
Samascott has multiple strawberry fields -- in our experience, there are usually plenty of berries to pick.

Thompson-Finch Farm
750 Wiltsie Bridge Rd, Ancram, NY (map)
(518) 329-7578
Pick your own has started.
Monday-Sunday 8 am-5 pm
According to the website, the crop is just heading into its main season. "The next two weeks will be excellent for picking for jam and freezers."
Thompson-Finch is a certified organic farm.

Rensselaer County

The Berry Patch
15589 NY 22, Stephentown, NY (map)
(518) 733-1234
Pick your own has started.
Thursday-Sunday 9 am-noon.

Best Berry Farm
1078 Best Road, East Greenbush, NY (map)
(518) 286-0607
Pick your own has started.
Call for hours and availability. This Friday, June 19 PYO was set to be open from 8 am-noon.
PYO strawberries are $1.90/pound. "Don't forget to bring your own containers."

Engelke Farm
1463 Garfield Rd, Brunswick, NY 12180 (map)
(518) 478-4939
Pick your own has started.
Monday-Sunday 9 am-7 pm
PYO strawberries are $4/pint or $6/quart.

Swartz Farm
1581 Eleanor Drive, Castleton, NY (map)
(518) 858-1174
Pick your own has started.
Monday-Sunday 8 am-6 pm, weather permitting.
PYO strawberries are $1.95/pound. "Bring your own container if you have one!"

Saratoga County

Ariel's Farm
194 Northern Pines Road, Wilton, NY 12831 (map)
(518) 584-2189
PYO strawberry season has started.
Open 9 am-6 pm.

Bowman Orchards
141 Sugar Hill Rd, Rexford, NY (map)
(518) 371-2042
Pick your own has started.
Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm and Sunday 12-5 pm
PYO strawberries are $2.99/pound and there's a $2/person entrance fee.
There's a $2/person pick your own entrance fee, and strawberries are $2.89 per pound. You can bring your own containers (make sure to have them weighed when you get there) -- or you can buy them there.

Schenectady County

Buhrmaster Farm
180 Saratoga Road Route 50, Glenville, NY (map)
(518) 399-5931
Pick your own has started.
Monday-Sunday 7 am-4 pm.
PYO is at the corner of Swaggertown Road and Worden Road.

Horstman Farm
7 Swaggertown Rd. Scotia, NY 12302 (map)
(518) 374-7728
Pick your own has started.
PYO open Monday-Saturday 7 am until the fields are picked through.

Schoharie County

Bohringer's Fruit Farm
3992 State Route 30, Middleburgh, NY (map)
(518) 827-5783
Pick your own has started
Every day 8 am-5 pm
PYO strawberries are $3.25/"heaping quart."

Washington County

Hand Melon Farm
533 Wilbur Avenue, Greenwich, NY -- between Schuylerville and Greenwich (map)
(518) 692-2376
Pick your own season has started.
Monday-Friday 8 am-6 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am-4 pm
PYO strawberries are $2.25/pound. "Optimal picking will be from the 20th to the 30th."

Comments

Columbia County addition: Farm fields on the west side of US 9 just north of Golden Harvest Farms (about 3/4 mi north of the circle in Valatie), pick your own or pay per quart with discount for more than one pre-picked box. I don't remember the name of the farm but they have a large parking lot and small kiosk with a large sign.

wish there were more organic options. i don't like the use of pesticides on my strawberries

Low spray, no spray or organic berries are what we're looking for too. Strawberries are on the "Dirty Dozen" list from the Environmental Working Group, listing the top 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts of dangerous pesticide residues. I take my 4 year old picking with me and I want to feel confident that while I encourage her to eat berries, they are healthy for her.
FYI- In 2012, American Academy of Pediatrics issued an important report that said that children have "unique susceptibilities to [pesticide residues'] potential toxicity," citing research that linked pesticide exposures in early life and "pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems."

My understanding is that a certified organic farm is a very specific term and that farms might employ low or no spray pest control, but not qualify as a "certified organic farm."

For example, Hand Melon Farm in Greenwich (my personal favorite berry picking location) uses Integrated Pest Management principles, using minimal amounts of pesticides (http://handmelonfarm.com/about/). It is worth checking with your favorite farm before dismissing them because they are not certified organic.

Went to Best Berry Farm this morning; close-by, low-cost, and delicious strawberries!

When we inquired over the phone, Samascott Orchards told us that they don't spray their U-pick strawberries with pesticides (but I believe they said do use it on their market berries). Beyond taking their word for it, I didn't get any additional information. Besides that, it's a very large farm with plenty of berries, reasonable U-pick prices, and great ice cream.

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