Strawberry picking will always be one of my favorite parenting memories. This time a year ago, my mom and I took my three sons to pick strawberries, and it was our first real outing after months of sheltering in place early on in the pandemic. We were downright giddy to be out of the house and watching three boys go to town picking strawberries in a healthy and safe environment.
This year? With a lot more businesses open and vaccinations more prevalent, we just got to focus on the fun part!
COVID safety still applies: picking at a lot of farms like the Ivy Place in Lancaster, S.C. is done by appointment only. It’s out in a wide open space where it’s easy to social distance. Etc. (Check out how to register there or at eight other farms around Charlotte, read on!) But this time, we hadn’t been sheltering in place. I picked the boys up from preschool to head out on our strawberry-picking adventure! A big bonus this year for them was getting to skip “quiet time” to spend the afternoon picking strawberries and enjoying a little picnic snack afterward.
The Ivy Place, a family-owned farm about 15-20 minutes south of Ballantyne, was a beautiful backdrop. The strawberries were gorgeous and delicious. (They grow four varieties: Sweet Charlie, Rocco, Ruby June and Camarosa.) In just 30 minutes of picking with my 5-year-old, 3-year-old twins and my sister, we filled up four gallon-sized buckets. It was enough to send my sons back to preschool later in the week with strawberries to share with their classmates!
The Ivy Place has picnic tables, a port-a-potty, an outdoor sink to wash your hands and to wash fruit. They accept both cash and credit cards and all you pay for is the berries you pick. If you’d rather not pick, pre-picked berries are available too.
Up to 10 people can come per appointment. They have gallon-sized buckets available for picking, but it’s a good idea to bring an extra container or two for taking strawberries home in the car.
Strawberry picking appointments open up a week at a time. For information and to register go to their website. May is prime strawberry-picking time and the season will be over in early June. If you miss it, you can always go back in June and July for blueberries and blackberries and in June, July and August for Heirloom tomatoes.
The Ivy Place
8525 Van Wyck Rd.
Lancaster, SC 29720
Here’s the lowdown on eight other U-pick farms near Charlotte. For the most updated information, visit social media sites.
1800 Black Hwy
York, S.C. 29745
Schedule and Info: U-pick is in May based on availability. Call 803-684-2333 for details.
1650 Filbert Hwy
York, SC 29745
Schedule and Info: U-pick available on Saturdays only, from 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. Please call before you come: 803-684-2732.
1145 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy
Mooresville, NC 28115
Schedule and Info: Opens for U-pick today. No reservations required. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. today (Friday) and Saturday. Check the website for hours in the days to come. The peak period with the most plentiful strawberries is expected between May 4-12.
Cotton Hills Farm
The Market in Lowrys
2575 Lowrys Hwy
Chester, SC 29706
Schedule and Info: U-pick strawberries available Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Bring your own container or buy one for $1. Call ahead for picking conditions and check in when you arrive at The Market (803-581-4545.)
Hall Family Farm
445 West Rebound Rd.
Lancaster, SC 29720
Schedule and Info: No reservations needed but call ahead 704-562-4021 or check Facebook before driving out. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday and Sundays: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed on Mondays
13624 Providence Rd.
Weddington, N.C. 28104
Schedule and Info: Strawberry picking is open until May 30. Hours are Wednesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Reservations are required. Slots will open on Mondays at 10 a.m. for the upcoming week. Additional slots might open throughout the week based on conditions.
Lineberger’s Maple Springs Farm
906 Dallas Stanley Hwy
Dallas, NC 28034
Schedule and Info: U-picking is available now but the best and most plentiful dates for picking are expected from around May 11-22.
Wise Acres Organic Farm
4701 Hartis Road
Indian Trail, NC 28079
Schedule and Info: Reservations for strawberry picking are booked up, but the farm is taking last-minute add-ons when there are cancellations.