Strawberries are a favorite in our house and there is absolutely nothing better than fresh-picked fruit. Red, juicy, nutrient-filled, and so versatile! We decided to treat the boys and take them to pick their own for their very first time. “U-pick” season usually begins at the end of March and extends throughout April, depending on the weather. The majority of farms are between 45 minutes to 2 hours outside of the Jacksonville area. We decided to make a day of it and venture an hour to Sweet Berries of Crawford.
We made our way to Lawtey, where the farm is located. Sweet Berries is a local, family-run farm that has been in the family for close to 100 years! I was able to meet and chat with 3 different family members in the short time of being there. Every family member takes part in helping run the farm, which was interesting to learn about. We went on a Thursday and arrived around 10am. This was a great time, as it was not crowded, and temperatures were perfect. (This is extra important considering there isn’t any shade.) PRO TIP: Check out their Facebook page prior to coming as times and availability will
change. I learned they had to close by noon the day prior because they were so busy!
Upon arrival, we were given buckets and led to spots with the ripest berries. Both my boys loved this, trying to find the biggest, reddest, and roundest strawberry! They did have a port-a-potty and a few places to rest, which were great for photo ops. PRO TIP: Definitely pack sunscreen, bug spray, and the
jog stroller if you need one. Our 3 bucket-loads were $3.00/pound and we went home $21 dollars later!!! Yes, you read that right, 7 pounds of strawberries! I laughed when she told us our bill, wondering how we would eat this many, but feeling good about supporting local! Oh, and they did
accept credit cards. I brought a large container to transport home, but they bagged up the strawberries.
The boys wanted to try them right away so I did wash a few off the best I could for taste testing and the reviews were excellent! We ended up enjoying every single berry for snacks, on pancakes, with ice cream, and to make freezer jelly! This was another great activity to do together. My oldest said it was
the best jelly he ever tasted! (I’m sure he was pining for something, but it warmed this momma’s heart!)
Here are a few other farms to check out:
Brown’s Farm is a 500-plus-acre farm located between Palatka and Gainesville. They are proud of their customer favorites: strawberries, pecans, sweet corn, watermelons, and field peas. Mr. Brown established the farm in 1916 selling cabbage for 1 cent a piece!
Merck Farms is a locally owned farm, having been in operation for 10 years. They are located on the St.Mary’s River in Kingsland, GA. They believe in reducing our footprint on the earth by growing locally and sending the food straight from the farm to your table.
Rogers Farm is located about an hour south of Jacksonville. It has been a family owned and operated farm for over 30 years but sold 3 years ago to a local family that is 5th generation in agriculture.
The Family Garden
The Family Garden has been in operation for almost 15 years and is located in Gainesville. It is Certified Organic and is the only Food Justice Certified Farm in the South. This certification ensures the FAIR treatment of workers, so the employees at The Family Garden make a living wage and have rights that other agricultural workers are often denied.
This was a great morning day trip that will absolutely become a tradition in our house. Let us know your experience and if your jelly earns you Mom of the Year awards!