Strawberry-picking season returns

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gwen Albers | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—Heather Halstead took advantage of Monday’s 80-plus degree day to pick strawberries at Goose Hill Farms.

“They’re great and they’re very plentiful,” she said after picking nearly four quarts from the one-acre patch on Bethel Road between Franklin and Sedley.

Heather Halstead picks strawberries at Goose Hill Farms outside Franklin. Berries have been ready since April 23. -- Gwen Albers | Tidewater News

While Halstead planned to give some to family and freeze the others, Courtland’s Peggy Bass planned to turn her berries into jam and to top homemade pound cake with whipped topping.

“They’re always good,” said Bass.

It’s almost Mother’s Day, which means pick-your-own strawberry farms are gearing up for the season, according to Virginia Farm Bureau. At some operations, picking already has commenced. At others, Mother’s Day weekend will kick off the strawberry season.

Strawberries were ready at Goose Hill Farms on April 23, said Frank Foster, whose nephew, Amp Cobb, owns the farm. This past weekend’s mild temperatures brought customers to the berry patch.

“We had a real good weekend,” Foster said. “We had a lot of berries and a lot of pickers.”

Customers can pick strawberries for $2.50 a quart and $8.50 for four quarts, or buy them already picked for $3.50 a quart and $12.50 for four quarts. The berry patch is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

While Foster expects an average season with picking coming to an end at the close of May, Brenda Hackman with Hackman’s Strawberries in Severn, N.C., expects berries through the first part of June. The season’s first berries were ready on April 15.

“It was a little bit earlier than normal,” Heckman said. “We had a really cold winter, but we covered (the plants). When we pulled the covers off, they just really took off.”

Located five miles from Boykins on Severn Road off Route 35, the one-acre patch is open 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Pick-your-own berries sell for $1.30 a quart and already picked are $2.