The Hippo


May 31, 2020








Pick-Your-Own Strawberries

Applecrest Farm Orchards (133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls, 926-3721, hours 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; check in at the farm stand before you pick. Bring your own containers, or use quart containers and trays available at the farm, and pay by the pound.
Apple Hill Farm (580 Mountain Road, Concord, 224-8862, hours 8 a.m. to noon, call ahead (may extend the hours if they have good picking); check in at the field at 89 Hoit Road. The farm has containers (charge $1) or bring your own; pay by the pound.
Brookdale Fruit Farm (41 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2240, hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends; located behind the farm stand. Picking containers available, but you can bring your own. You can go down into the field, where assistants can help. Pay cash or check only, and pay by the pound.
Elwood Orchards (54 Elwood Road, Londonderry, 434-6017, Call ahead for picking conditions.
J&F Farms (120 Chester Road, Derry, 437-0535, hours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends; check in at the farm stand. Containers are available, or you can bring your own; pay by the pound.
Lull Farm (65 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2807; 615 Route 13 S., Milford, 673-3119, Hours at both Hollis and Milford strawberry fields are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; containers are available, but you can bring your own. Pay by the quart.
McQuesten Farm (334 Route 3A, Litchfield, 424-9268, hours are 8 a.m. to mid-afternoon; drive right around the farm stand and meet the attendtant in the pick-your-own field. Containers are available for a small fee, but you can also bring your own containers, and pay by the pound.
Meadow Ledge Farm (612 Route 129, Loudon, 798-5860, Call ahead for picking conditions.
Rossview Farm (84 District 5 Road, Concord, 228-4872, hours are about 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through July 10, best to call ahead; check in with an attendant at the pick-your-own field. Containers are available and large boxes cost $1, but you can bring your own. Pay by the pound.

Sunnycrest Farm (59 High Range Road, Londonderry, 432-9652, hours are 7 a.m. to noon daily; drive right down to the pick-your-own field. Containers are available, pay by the pound.

Get picky
Strawberries are ready and the fields are open


 For the second year in a row, New Hampshire’s strawberries have ripened a little late, but growers say it looks like it will be a good year nonetheless. Last weekend was the first weekend that many pick-your-own farms opened their fields to the public. 

“Strawberries like warm weather, which we haven’t had that much of,” Eleanor Whittemore, one of the owners of Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis, said. “The ground was really cold coming into the spring because of the winter we’ve had, so it’s taken everything a little longer to grow and to ripen.”
Strawberries are typically in season from late June until about mid-July.
“Our crop so far is actually doing really well. We’ll have a lot of berries as long as they ripen,” Melissa Dolloff, manager of J&F Farms in Derry, said.
Picking strawberries is pretty easy to do, but to find the berries, you may need to do a little searching.
“This year you have to get down and move the leaves around in order to find the berries. They don’t all just stand out,” Whittemore said, adding that for the ready-to-pick, ripened strawberries, you want to look for “nice bright red, and firm. You don’t want it mushy.”
“The biggest thing is to look at the bottom of the strawberry, or the side that’s laying closest to the ground, because that’s the last to ripen. ... the least amount of sun exposure will be the whitest part of it,” Dolloff said.
Of course, if you’re picking with little ones, it might be more about the experience than finding the perfect berry.
“Pick-your-own’s seem to be family oriented. Families enjoy doing it together, and I think some parents teach them a little bit about where their food comes from,” Whittemore said. 
Dolloff said people pick their own fruits for a number of reasons.
“Nowadays [pick-your-own] is an activity for the family, or it’s for people who like to freeze and can who like to pick them themselves and save the money,” Dolloff said.
Each farm’s picking conditions are different, so call ahead or look at the farm’s website. You can also find out where you should go when you get there, as some farms prefer that you go straight to the pick-your-own field where attendants can help you get started and others require checking in first at the farm stand. Also be aware of how you’ll pay — some farms charge for your picked bounty by the pound, while others charge by the quart, and some don’t take credit cards.
As seen in the June 26, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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