Strawberry picking is a very popular pastime in New York, and Freeville is known for its superior strawberries. Tourists and locals frequent the Brookside Berry Farm during strawberry picking season. Owned by David Dahle and Anu Rangarajan, Brookside is the only certified organic strawberry farm located in Freeville that is open to the public and allows you to pick your own strawberries.
Brookside Berry Farm is open to the public during strawberry season on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The farm is certified organic and does not use herbicides, fungicides, insecticides or chemical fertilizers on its crops. The New York climate is ideal for strawberry growing, and Brookside Berry Farm produces ripe, succulent fruit.
Strawberry season starts in New York in early June and lasts for approximately one month. The longevity of each year's strawberry season depends on local rain and weather conditions. Even though the season is short, the strawberries are plentiful during this period.
Individuals who want to pick their own strawberries should bring a hard-sided container to use for picking, such as a plastic container or bucket. Plastic bags should be avoided, as these will cause the berries to collect moisture and bruise. Use sunblock and wear a large-brimmed hat, as the fields are in the direct line of the sun. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water to stay hydrated while you are picking.
Picking and Storing Tips
Select plump, firm, fully red berries. The smaller berries are often most flavorful. Gently part the plant leaves with your hands to find the strawberries that are ready to harvest. Avoid picking rotten or damaged fruit. Pull the berry from the stem by twisting the stem just above the top of the berry until the fruit comes off the plant. Carefully place the fruit in your container. Do not over-pack your containers. Strawberries are very delicate and can easily be crushed and bruised. After picking, keep the strawberries away from direct sunlight and heat as much as possible. Cool them quickly after picking to retain freshness. Fresh strawberries may be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for three to seven days.
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