Strawberries and more ready to be pickedPublished 7:48am Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Georgia Farm Bureau
Special to The Post-Searchlight
For many Georgians, one of the rites of spring is visiting a local farm and picking strawberries. At some Georgia farms, the 2013 crop was a little later arriving than in 2012, but at dozens of pick-your-own farms across Georgia, the berries and the on-farm fun are now ripe for the picking.
“There’s a nice number of strawberries out there,” said Jake Carter of Southern Belle Farm in Henry County. “We anticipate having a good few weeks of picking.”
A trip to one of 31 Georgia Farm Bureau Certified Farm Markets that offer strawberries is the only first-hand experience many consumers get on the farm, and the strawberries aren’t the only attraction. Many farms offer petting zoos and other outside activities, along with other farm products like fresh vegetables, jams and jellies and much more.
“Spending time out on the farm has become a family event for a lot of people,” Carter said. “We try to have a good mix of things to do.”
Many of the certified farm markets also provide educational experiences for school groups and other organizations. Carter said nearly 7,000 students are scheduled to visit Southern Belle this spring to learn about how farms operate, and similar programs are available at other farms around the state.
Strawberries are fat free and contain lots of potassium, fiber and folic acid. According to the Georgia Strawberry Growers Association, eight medium-size strawberries contain 160 percent of the USDA’s recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Peak harvest time for strawberries typically runs into June but consumers should call ahead for availability.
“With all the experiences and products available, visits to strawberry you-pick markets offer consumers a great value,” said GFB President Zippy Duvall. “The strawberries are delicious and people get to see some of what happens on a farm.”
Another summer favorite, peaches, are harvested between May and August. Blackberries and blueberries are also available at local farms during the summer months.
Local certified farm markets
• Dean Farms, 4193 Vada Road, Climax. Phone: (229) 246-2628. Offers: Seasonal vegetables as well as watermelons, cantaloupes and berries.
• Harvest Moon Market, 3103 Thomasville Road, Bainbridge. Phone: (229) 246-6750. What can you pick: Fruits (including strawberries) and seasonal vegetables. You can also try out fruit smoothies.
• G.W. Long Farm, 3005 Old Whigham Road, Bainbridge. Phone: (229) 246-8086. What can you pick: 45 different varieties of vegetables, as well as canteloupes and watermelon.
Source: Georgia Farm Bureau, http://www.gfb.org/commodities/cfm/default.html