strawberry picking

The strawberry crop has finally come in across WNC. Baskets brimming with sweet, juicy berries are turning up at local markets and farmers with u-pick fields are now open to the public.

Picking your own strawberries is incredibly rewarding.

The thrill of the hunt and sheer elation of spying glints of red among the green leaves. The satisfying pop when you pluck a perfectly ripe berry from its stem. The heft of the basket swinging from your hand, the red-stain on your finger tips — and of course, the delectable sweetness of a just-picked berry.

Don’t dilly-dally, however. There’s only a handful of pick-your-own strawberry farms in WNC, and the local strawberry season is short-lived.

Here’s some tips before heading out:

• Call ahead to see if they’re picking. Berry availability can vary dramatically from day to day based on the ripening schedule and picking demand.

• Bring cash. Some farms don’t accept cards.

• Stay between the rows and help small children understand the importance of not walking on the strawberry hills.

• Be courteous and don’t eat too many berries while you pick without paying for them. Local family farms have a small window to make their revenue for the year.

Where to pick your own strawberries in WNC

HAYWOOD COUNTY

• Ten Acre Garden

Address: 158 Chambers Farm Ln, Canton

Phone: 828-235-9667

Web: Tenacregarden.com

This century farm is an agritourism destination, with an onsite farm store and several upick crops — including strawberries, of course.

HENDERSON COUNTY

• Obermiller's Strawberry Farm

Address: 621 Allstar Ln, Hendersonville.

Phone: 828-891-8841

Web: www.facebook.com/obermillerstrawberryfarm

As the name implies, this farm is all about strawberries. It also does blueberries and blackberries later in the summer.

• McConnell Farms

Address: 177 Old Dana Rd., Hendersonville.

Phone: 828-692-2819

Web: www.facebook.com/McconnellFarmsInc

This family farm has an onsite retail store that sells value-added farm products like ciders, fruit butters and preserves — and fabulous homemade ice cream. You can also get hanging baskets, flowers and plants.

SWAIN COUNTY

• Darnell Farms

Address: 2300 Governors Island Rd, Bryson City

Phone: 828-488-2376

Web: darnellfarms.com

Darnell Farms is a working family farm along the banks of the Tuckasegee River that’s nailed the agritourism niche. They hold festivals on the farm throughout the year, including the Strawberry Jam festival coming up May 15.

Open seven days a week, their onsite produce stand is like a mini-farmer’s market, selling locally sourced dairy, meat and grocery items — including complete meal kits with everything you need to prepare fresh dinners at homes.

A food truck is onsite Thursday-Sunday with shady picnic tables along the river banks. (Psssttt….They are famous for their Dream Whips, a frozen dessert concoction.)

TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY

• Davis Family Farms

Address: Island Cove Rd., Penrose

Phone: 828-553-7323

Web: www.facebook.com/Penrosenc/

This small family farm is a staple of the farmers market in Brevard. They open up their farm during strawberry season for u-pick, and typically post each morning on Facebook whether there’s availability that day.

Are we missing one? Let us know by emailing theguidewnc@themountaineer.com.