When local strawberries are ripe, it’s a good thing.
Besides having the freshest sweet fruit at your fingertips, it also means summer is just around the corner.
After a soggy spring in 2018 led to a short picking season on the Mid-Shore, theres’ much anticipation for the start of this year’s local strawberry season.
Pegged at the first or second week of May for most farms in the area, many area farms open their fields to customers to pick their own.
For many, strawberry picking conjures memories of their childhoods, while others hit the berry patch to form new traditions with little ones.
Either way, following some basic etiquette rules will help make it an enjoyable experience for you, your fellow pickers and the folks that grew the berries.
Call ahead or check the farm’s social media before you leave home to confirm U-pick is happening and you’ll have enough time to get all the berries you want.
Leave pets at home. Even on a leash, most farms will refuse to let a pet in the picking area due to food safety requirements.
Bring your kids, but keep them busy. Young children running amok in the berry patch won’t win you many friends. If you fear they may tire of picking easily, consider one of the many farms that have play areas and kids activities.
Pick only ripe berries. The green and pink berries need more time on the plant and won’t ripen any more if you pick them.
Limit your grazing. While tasting one or two berries will likely be overlooked, repeatedly packing your cheeks full is a good way to get asked to leave. Just remember you came to pick, not to picnic.
Give other pickers plenty of space.
Some farms may designate you to a row or section of the patch but if not, pick an area where there are less people than more.
It’ll be easier to fill your bucket without competing with the other pickers.
The Maryland’s Best website, marylandsbest.net is a good way to locate a berry farm near you when you get the itch to pick.

• Blades Orchard, 4822 Preston Rd, Federalsburg, 410-654-8857;
• Bobola Farm & Florist, 5268 Forrest Avenue, Dover, Del., 302-492-3367;
• Donovan’s Strawberry U-Pick, 6002 Allen Rd. Rhodesdale, 410-943-8736;
• Emily’s Produce, 2206 Church Creek Road, Cambridge, 443-521-0789;
• Family Affair Farm, 30091 Rabbit Hill Road Easton, 410-310-1331;
• Fifer Orchards, Inc., 1919 Allabands Mill Road, Wyoming, Del., 302-697-2141;
• Filasky’s Produce, 1343 Bunker Hill Road, Middletown, Del., 302-378-2754;
• Godfrey’s Farm, 302 Leager Road, Sudlersville, 410-438-3509;
• Lockbriar Farms, 10051 Worton Rd, Chestertown, 410-778-9112;
• Musachio Produce Farm, 12522 Ridgely Road, Ridgely, 410-634-2044;
• T.S. Smith and Sons, 8887 Redden Road, Bridgeville, Del., 302-337-8271;
• Wing’s Landing Farm, 6304 Bell Creek Rd, Preston, 410-673-7238; and
• Wright’s Market, 9300 Old Railroad Rd, Mardela Springs, 410-742-8845.