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Every year my family looks forward to visiting a local u-pick strawberry farm! We always have a blast picking our own berries, plus you can't beat the cost! Because the availability of u-pick strawberries can change from day to day, it's best to call the farm before your visit to make sure they are open and ready for u-pick visitors. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during and after your visit to one of the two local farms.
1. Brown's Farm - This farm is located in Orange Heights and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. U-Pick strawberries cost only $1.50 per pound! Both cash and credit cards are accepted at this farm.
2. Rogers Farm - This farm is located in Gainesville and is open Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 5:30 pm. U-Pick strawberries cost only $1.50 per pound. Both credit cards and cash are accepted at this farm.
1. Strawberry fields are not the least bit shaded. Be sure to bring hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and water!
2.Closed-toed shoes work best, along with an outfit that can get somewhat dirty. At Rogers Farm, for example, you'll have to take a hayride back to the fields. Plus, if your kids are anything like mine, they'll end up covered in strawberry juice from sampling the berries!
3.Be sure to teach your kids which berries are ripe and ready to pick BEFORE you head into the field. You don't want to end up paying for berries that aren't edible!
4.It's quick and easy to fill up your buckets with ripe berries. To extend the length of your trip to the farm, plan to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy!
5. Both farms provide buckets to use when you're picking out in the fields, but you'll need to bring some type of container to Brown's Farm to get your berries home. Rogers Farm provides grocery bags, but you may want to bring another type of sturdy container to keep the berries from getting smashed in the bag.
6. When you finish picking your berries, be sure to head straight home rather than leaving your freshly picked fruit in the car. The hot Florida temperatures will soften your berries really fast if they are left in the car.
Preparing Your Berries
1.Rinse our berries as soon as you get home. Chances are little critters came home with the berries, so be careful not to leave your container of berries on your kitchen counter.
2. You can freeze any extra strawberries you have, but when you defrost the berries, they will be much softer and best for smoothies and other similar recipes.
3. Chances are you'll pick more berries than your family can eat before they go bad, so be sure to use some of the berries in recipes! Suggestions are below!
Chances are you will have picked WAY MORE berries than you are able to eat, because picking is so much fun!! We have a ton of amazing strawberry recipes and tips for freezing berries listed on our Pinterest page - "All things Strawberries!" Here is one of my favorites. It's super easy!
Strawberries and Dip
- One 8 oz block of cream cheese (I typically use Kraft. Note: The low-fat options don't work as well)
- One 7 oz can of Marshmallow Fluff (I typically use Kraft)
- Red food coloring (if desired)
1. Pull your cream cheese from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you plan to make your fruit dip do it can soften.
2. Hand mix the cream cheese and marshmallow fluff until it is smooth
3. Add a couple drop of red food coloring to make the dip pink (if desired)
4. Serve your dip and strawberries!
Have fun picking strawberries!