Pick your own strawberry season 2015

strawberries box strawberry field samascott

So very June.

Strawberry season is here! Many local farms have recently opened for pick-your-own strawberries, or will be very shortly.

It seems like there's a fair amount of variability across farms this year -- some have gotten an early jump and others are still waiting for their berries. If we get a few sunny days following this rain, things could move along quickly.

A typical strawberry season at many farms in this area only lasts a few weeks, though some farms have strawberries for longer stretches -- even most of the summer -- because their fields include a range of varieties that produce at different times. When you're at the farm stand, ask about the varieties the farms are growing. In our experience people are happy to talk about what's available, for how long, and why. (It's also 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 starts June 10 at 8 am. (Hours below are from last year -- the person we talked with on the phone couldn't confirm the hours for this year, yet.)
Monday-Friday 8 am-12:30 pm | Saturday and Sunday 8 am-3 pm
PYO strawberries are $2.35/pound.
From the website last year: "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 June 3.
Wednesday-Friday 9 am-1 pm | Saturday and Sunday 9-4 pm
PYO strawberries are $2.25 per pound.
From the website, which includes some helpful tips: "You may pick into your own container, however it must be preweighed at the berry shed before you begin picking. Quart picking containers may be purchased at the shed for 25¢ each."

Columbia County

Samascott Orchards
5 Sunset Ave, Kinderhook, NY (map)
(518) 758-7224
Pick your own starts June 13.
Monday-Sunday 8 am-6 pm
PYO strawberries are $2 per 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 with multiple varieties, and in our experience, there are usually plenty of berries to pick, even later into the summer.

Thompson-Finch Farm
750 Wiltsie Bridge Rd, Ancram, NY (map)
(518) 329-7578
Pick your own started June 7.
Monday-Sunday 8 am-5 pm
PYO strawberries are $3.75 per pound. Thompson-Finch is a certified organic farm.
From the website: "Please come on rainy days also as the berries keep ripening and we can loose a lot in one rain storm. This will help us! Bring your own containers and save a box and money. Dogs are not allowed on the premises not even in your car. We enforce this!!!! No talking on cell phones in the picking field. Parking lot is fair game. Our price is calculated to be around half of what you pay in the stores for our berries to encourage you to pick a lot to store for the winter."

Rensselaer County

The Berry Patch
15589 NY 22, Stephentown, NY (map)
(518) 733-1234
The farm anticipates pick your own will start June 18 (though it could be sooner based on conditions).

Best Berry Farm
1078 Best Road, East Greenbush, NY (map)
(518) 286-0607
According to the message on the answering machine, it looks like the berries will be a little late this year. Check back about around June 12 for an update.

Engelke Farm
1463 Garfield Rd, Brunswick, NY 12180 (map)
(518) 478-4939
As of this past weekend, PYO strawberries were about two weeks away.

Swartz Farm
1581 Eleanor Drive, Castleton, NY (map)
(518) 858-1174
A message posted to Facebook this past weekend (June 6) says they're hoping to have news about PYO soon. (The message is interesting -- as is this one from late May -- because it includes a sort of behind-the-scenes look at the planting of new strawberry fields.)

Saratoga County

Ariel's Farm
194 Northern Pines Road, Wilton, NY 12831 (map)
(518) 584-2189
PYO strawberry season starts June 10, according to answering machine.
Open 9 am-6 pm.

Bowman Orchards
141 Sugar Hill Rd, Rexford, NY (map)
(518) 371-2042
Pick your own started in late May.
Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm and Sunday 12-5 pm
PYO strawberries are $2.99 per pound and there's a $2 per person entrance fee.

Schenectady County

Buhrmaster Farm
180 Saratoga Road Route 50, Glenville, NY (map)
(518) 399-5931
Pick your own is set to start June 11.
Monday-Sunday 7 am-4 pm.
PYO is at the corner of Swaggertown Road and Worden Road.

Schoharie County

Bohringer's Fruit Farm
3992 State Route 30, Middleburgh, NY (map)
(518) 827-5783
Pick your own starts June 10.
Every day 8 am-6 pm
PYO strawberries are $3.25 per quart. (They're $4.75 per quart already picked.)

Washington County

Hand Melon Farm
533 Wilbur Avenue, Greenwich, NY -- between Schuylerville and Greenwich (map)
(518) 692-2376
Pick your own starts June 12.
Monday-Friday 8 am-6 pm, Saturday-Sunday 8 am-5 pm
PYO strawberries are $2.50 per pound.
From FB: "[S]upply will be limited at first with the best picking the following 2 weekends." And: "We practice integrated pest management which keeps our sprays to a minimum."

Comments

I have heard that berry farms in Greene County have also started strawberry picking season. It would be great to see our southern border county included on this list! Any leads on farms there?

I don't think I've ever heard of an entrance fee for u-pick, as Bowman Orchards has. Maybe that's to cut down on hordes of people who comes to "snack" on the berries in the fields, but not pay for what they consume? As a veteran u-picker, I think I'd be steamed to be charged a cover charge for entering the field.

I'll give a shout-out to Samascott! Great selection of berries (love those cherries, the few farms in the area to offer them), along with other options like rhubarb, pears, peaches, etc.

And yes, I find that trip out to berry pick, and the wonderful smells it leaves on your hand (or the way the warm sun fills your car with wonderful fruity smells) to be the perfect introduction to summer!

Kristy's Barn in Schodack will start having pick your own strawberries sometime this week.

http://www.kristysbarn.com/upick.html

Does anyone know off-hand if any of the above listed farms are organic or certified naturally grown?

Love Samascott. They have a big fields, a nice selection, and a lot of harder to find fruits like sour cherries and currants. I do also go to Bowman Orchards for strawberries and blueberries, the price is usually a bit higher per pound than other similar non-organic farms. But for example this year their u-pick opened a week and a half earlier than Samascott and many others. The entrance fee is waived for people who are loyalty card members, which for me (and to my understanding still is) free.

K - Thompson-Finch is certified organic, Kristy's is low spray.

Thanks, Kate... I missed that note in the description!

We had a whole bunch of customers stop in to pick strawberries over the weekend who said they found out about our farm through AOA, so we just wanted to say thank you so much for listing us here! I'm glad you found the "behind-the-scenes" posts on our Facebook page interesting too--as farmers producing food, we consider it to be part of our job to teach people where that food comes from as well, and hope that an understanding of all the work that goes into it will help people appreciate locally-grown produce even more. I'll be continuing the "life cycle of our strawberry plants" posts throughout the rest of the year, so check back to learn more if you're so inclined ;-)

Thanks again! Megan at Swartz Dairy & Produce, Castleton

Slightly off topic: Got Rhubarb? Kolber's DeerField Farm on Rt 9W, Glenmont has huge rhubarb plants, so the stalks are really long. For 3 years they have had the best red, ripe stalks [not just green] I've seen anywhere. I always call ahead because I buy a several pound quantity and freeze them for use in pies and 4 kinds of jams, including Strawberry Rhubarb.

@Tim -- when it comes to rhubarb, red vs. green has nothing to do with ripeness. Rhubarb varieties range from more greenish to more red, but it has nothing to do with the taste. Greenish rhubarb is not under ripe. But customers like red. I've been growing heritage rhubarb (acquired from old geezers) for years and mine are the greenish type with some red.

Great list! As you said, the window for strawberry season is a short one, so you’d better get there soon!

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