If apple picking is the perfect fall activity, then strawberry picking is surely the early-summer equivalent. Not only are you able to stock up on the sweet stuff, but you’re able to visit and support local farms and, of course, spend time as a family.
Best of all, there are plenty of places throughout the Hudson Valley where kids of all ages can try their hand at picking their own strawberries. The season usually starts around the beginning of June, but be sure to call ahead first. Not into picking them yourself? Westchester and the Hudson Valley have a few strawberry festivals you can check out, instead.
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81st Annual Strawberry Festival – Chappaqua
Saturday, June 2
The Strawberry Festival at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Chappaqua is now in its 81st year! Expect all strawberry-inspired foods, as well as a petting zoo, games, crafts, and, those perennial kid-favorites, bounce castles.
53rd Annual Strawberry Festival – Tarrytown
Sunday, June 10
Head to the yard at One Grove Street in Tarrytown for the 53rd annual Strawberry Festival, hosted by The Historical Society, Inc. of Tarrytown & Sleepy Hollow. Be sure to check out the live music, and try the strawberry shortcake (with your choice of whipped cream or ice cream), as well as iced tea or lemonade—all of which is included in the ticket price.
Strawberry Festival – Beacon
Sunday, June 10
Head to the Beacon Riverfront Park in Beacon starting at noon for the annual Strawberry Festival, run by the Beacon Sloop Club. You’ll find live music, kids activities, and, of course, strawberry-themed foods to try.
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The Strawberry Jammin' Festival includes an opportunity to pick your own berries. Photo courtesy of the farm
Strawberry Jammin’ – Hopewell Junction
Saturday, June 16
Families visiting Fishkill Farms can enjoy a fun strawberry festival, complete with wagon rides, live music, crafts, and food—plus the chance to go strawberry picking. The event runs from 11am to 4pm.
Pick baskets full of farm-fresh berries at Fishkill Farms. Photo courtesy of the farm
Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms
Fishkill Farms – Hopewell Junction
9 Fiskill Farm Road
Head to Fishkill Farms, about 45 minutes from central Westchester, to find eco-certified strawberries starting in June, as well as other fruits and organic vegetables throughout the summer. Call ahead to find out what's ripe for picking when you are ready to plan your trip. PYO is offered daily from 9am-6pm.
Greig Farm – Red Hook
223 Pitcher Lane
About an hour and a half from central Westchester, this farm has been offering PYO fruits and vegetables for more than 60 years—and it doesn’t use synthetic chemicals. Strawberry harvesting begins in June. You’ll also find goats, a market where you can have breakfast and lunch, and a Saturday farmer’s market.
Mead Orchards – Tivoli
15 Scism Road
In addition to strawberries, recreational harvesters at Mead Orchards can enjoy blueberries, cherries, and other delectable options. PYO is offered daily, though the hours vary, so be sure to check their website or call ahead.
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Happiness is picking strawberries! Photo courtesy of the farm
Lawrence Farm Orchards – Newburgh
306 Frozen Ridge Road
Just an hour from central Westchester, Lawrence Farm Orchards is open every day from 9am to 4pm during the picking season, which includes strawberry picking starting in June. After picking, kids can play in the "Little Village"—a collection of kid-sized playhouses modeled after a small town (think: a school house, etc.).
Ochs Orchard – Warwick
4 Ochs Lane
Ochs offers beautiful views and easy strawberry picking beginning in June (weather permitting). Bring a lunch and enjoy the scenery from the top of the hill. There is also a small petting zoo and large farm stand.
Kelder’s Farm – Kerhonkson
Take a day trip to this Ulster County farm—it’s about an hour-and-a-half from central Westchester—and you’ll find not only strawberry picking, but tons of fun things to do, including mini-golf, a petting farm, playground, and even a jumping pillow. Plus, you can check out the huge Guinness Book of World Records–winning garden gnome (at one time, it was the tallest in the world), and pick up eggs, meats, and other produce in the farm’s market.
Dressel Farms – New Paltz
Head to the strawberry patch at this New Paltz family farm—it’s been owned by the same family for five generations!—starting around mid-June. While there, be sure to check out the farm stand, where you’ll find fruit, local honey and maple syrup, and more. Plus, new this year: homemade hard ice cream.
Flickr photo credit: Fried Dough