Late spring brings homegrown strawberries to western Pennsylvania—strawberry festivals, strawberry pies and strawberry patches where you can pick your own. You can find locally grown strawberries in June at many Pittsburgh-area grocery stores and farmers markets, but if you want to pick your own berries, you have plenty of options. It's best to call the farms to check availability before you go. Remember that strawberries at the southern farms in Washington County ripen a bit earlier than strawberries in more northern counties like Butler. Strawberry season in western Pennsylvania typically runs from Memorial Day through the third week in June.
Fresh-picked strawberries make delicious springtime desserts like strawberry shortcake—fresh shortcakes or biscuits loaded with sugared, juicy strawberries and topped with fresh whipped cream. Or use angel food cake as a base for a different take on this classic comfort food. Other yummy uses for fresh strawberries include strawberry-rhubarb pie, chocolate strawberries, strawberry scones or biscuits, strawberry cream cheese pie, strawberry salad with goat cheese, and fresh strawberry ice cream (or just top quality vanilla ice cream with juicy berries for a quick version).
Paskorz Berry Farm, in Cheswick in Allegheny County, has been growing gorgeous strawberries since the 1980s. You can pick your own or buy fresh picked berries all during June. You can also pick blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries when they're in season.
Trax Farms in Finleyville has strawberry and blueberry picking, along with a pumpkin patch; handcrafted, small-batch hard apple cider; pressed apple cider; and homegrown peaches, apples, corn, and tomatoes.
Soergel Orchards is in Wexford, and you can pick strawberries in season, along with blueberries and apples of many varieties, each with a different harvest date, which is listed on the website. You can also buy spring onions, blueberries, apple cider, and wine. You can even make a day of it and have lunch—each day holds a different special.
Reilly's is right in Pittsburgh, and it prides itself on the varieties it grows —Jewel, Eros, and Cabot. The farm says these varieties have superior flavor. Reilly's also grows raspberries and blueberries, and you can pick your own in season.
At Triple B Farms in Monongahela, you can pick strawberries in June and blueberries in July, along with corn on the cob. You'll also find homemade fudge, baked goods, and a selection of other fruits and vegetables in season.
Simmons Farm in McMurray offers strawberry picking, but unlike other berry farms, also offers non-berry fruits—apples and peaches, along with pumpkins, flowers and Christmas trees. It's a full-service pick-your-own produce destination.
Sarver's has been in business since 1979, providing organic produce you can pick yourself. It's in Greensburg, about a 45-minute drive from downtown Pittsburgh. Sarver's has strawberries, and a lot more—fresh fruits, honey, herbs, and flowers are part of its long list of products.