Take Advantage of the Freshest Berries Around
by GRACE BOGGESS HIRDES
Did you know that strawberries are packed with vitamins, fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols? As if being delicious wasn’t enough, strawberries are a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium.
The best part is that now is the perfect time of year for you to pick your own fresh strawberries and enjoy not only the benefits of the strawberries, but also the health benefits of being outside and enjoying some farm fresh air.
Here are some places you can visit to kick off your u-pick adventures.
Lake Buffum Farms
One of the top-rated farms in the Polk County area is located at 3875 Lake Buffum Road West in Fort Meade. Their U-Pick will begin the first of March, and they have been said to serve homemade ice cream in years past. If you have any questions about their u-pick times, they can be reached at 863-537-1228.
If you’re up for a weekend trip, this farm has been said to be worth the drive. Located at 3831 NW 156th Ave in Gainesville, their u-pick season has already begun. They can be reached at 386-462-2406. You can also follow them on Facebook for more up-to-date information.
Founded in 2001, this farm is family-owned and operated and located at 17200 Wiscon Road in Brooksville. They offer u-pick for more than just strawberries and would make for a great weekend trip to visit and get those farm-fresh vegetables for your dinner. They are consistent with updating their Facebook page to let everyone know when the strawberries are ready for u-pick and started opening their fields the last weekend in January.
Papa’s U-Pick Strawberries and Produce
This farm offers not only strawberries but also school tours. They are located at 14542 Angus Road in Polk City. If you have any questions, they can be reached by phone at 863-559-3136 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are usually open Saturdays and only accept cash payment.
Far Reach Ranch UPICK Farm
Located at 1255 S Dora Blvd in Tavares. This farm now offers curbside pickup and will be open late March/early April.
Oak Haven Farms & Winery
Located at 32418 Avington Road in Sorrento, this farm’s 2021 picking season is off to a great start! All picking is weather and crop permitting, so be sure to call ahead for accurate picking availability and conditions 352-735-1996 You can also check out their Facebook page for more information.
Strawberry Passion Organic Farms
This is a certified organic and family-operated farm located at 11780 Tom Folsom Road in Thonotosassa. They will open for u-pick at the end of March. Their expertise is in strawberries and vegetables and they have 51 acres of farmland dedicated to producing the best around.
Located at 6101 S County Road 39 in Plant City. This is said to be opening in March for u-pick, so keep your eyes and ears open for more information. You can also call them at 813-650-8999 for more information.
As you take to the field for your u-pick adventure, be sure to come suitably attired, with appropriate footwear (sneakers, boots, other closed-toe, no heel shoes). You should also be prepared to walk to where the best picking is in the field. Because we live in Florida and those sunny days can be quite brutal, be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen to protect your skin. To be on the safe side you should also bring a bottle of drinking water to sip on while you pick, most farms do not provide water at the barn, so a personal container is recommended. Once you’re fully prepared for your u-pick adventure, head out and enjoy the health benefits of fresh air and delicious strawberries.