Don't miss the chance to go strawberry picking with your kids in Atlanta - it's a great way to have fun on the cheap! Strawberry season can stretch from late April to July 4 in Georgia, with the best picking from May to mid June. Pickyourown.org the best website for finding pick-your-own farms: it lists all kinds of produce, not just strawberries. Search both the Atlanta area and North Georgia.
Why pick strawberries?
Lots of reasons! They are cheaper than store-bought (even frozen), though not amazingly so - usually about $10/gallon. They taste better than purchased ones. Unlike many berries, strawberries are easy to pick: they are big and have no thorns. They are especially easy for kids to pick, since they are low to the ground. Picking strawberries makes memories your children will always treasure. Finally, what tastes better than a just-picked strawberry, warmed by the sun?
You can also make the best jam in the world with your berries! Here's the recipe.
Strawberry Freezer Jam
2 cups sliced strawberries, mashed (do this by hand or in a blender or food processor - leave it somewhat chunky)
4 cups sugar
1 package liquid pectin
2 T. lemon juice
Clean canning jars or tupperware with lids
Mix strawberries with sugar and let stand for ten minutes. In a small bowl, mix packet of pectin with lemon juice. Add to strawberry mixture, and stir three minutes or until sugar is dissolved and is no longer grainy.
(A few sugar crystals may remain.)
Fill all containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Clean off top edges of containers and cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Store jam in the refrigerator for one month or in the freezer for up to a year.
Don't forget to freeze some berries: wash, pat dry, hull, and freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
Transfer to freezer bags.
Remember these important caveats about strawberry picking. 1. Always call the farm first to be sure they have abundant berries. 2. Drought years produce better berries than rainy years. 3. Most farms only take checks or cash. 4. If you don't want to pay $1 for buckets, bring your own or at least bring tupperware to transfer your berries into for the ride home.
There are many strawberry patches in Georgia. Here are a few favorites.
Washington Farms has locations in Loganville and Watkinsville (Loganville is the main one). They have lovely fields with lots of berries to pick. They are open 8:00-8:00 and closed on Sundays.
Athens / Watkinsville Farm
5691 Hog Mountain Road
Bogart, GA 30622
270 Willowwind Drive
Loganville, GA 30052
Whitley Farms is a pesticide-free farm located in Sharpsburg, GA. In addition to strawberries, you can also pick of up lots of other yummy produce from their Farm Stand. They are open Tuesday - Saturday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
917 Bob Smith Rd.
Sharpsburg, Georgia 30277
Adams Farm has a market and a pick-your-own operation at their pretty farm. Check for other crops besides strawberries.
1486 Georgia Highway 54 West
Fayetteville, GA 30214