This morning while getting ready, my husband mentioned that Elliott might like to go strawberry picking this year. Strawberry picking is something I don’t often think about. Besides the occasional memory of doing it when I was 5 years old, I primarily relate strawberry picking to scenes from Jane Austen’s Emma. But in that moment, I began to visualize my little man carrying a basket and looking every bit the natural farmer. Of course, my next thought and question to my husband was “When is strawberry picking season?” You can tell I’m the agriculturally aware, right? His reply of “soon” isn’t enough to plan on so I’ve scoured the internet to discover that it is…soon.
Peak strawberry (picking) season is May 1 – June 10 for East Tennessee. That means we have just over week to find those perfect strawberry-picking outfits and a farmer who charges folks to harvest his crops. I’m fairly certain by actually charging the children for the opportunity to pick strawberries, farmers are avoiding those tricky child-labor laws…
So where are the best places to pick strawberries in the Knoxville (and surrounding) area? Here are a few I found:
According to their website, Rutherford Farms is ready for strawberry picking! The rows are muddy from all of the rain but just add “adorable wellies” to that farmer outfit and you should be fine. The farm also boasts some additional pick your own (PYO) crops such as onions, romaine, lettuce, yellow squash, zucchini, and beets.
Location: 3337 Mint Rd Maryville TN 37803
Pricing: If you pick your own, the cost is $1.50/pound. Pre-picked buckets are $14.
Mountain Meadows Farm
This farm offers PYO strawberries on Sundays and Mondays from 10:00-4:00, May 3rd – June 1st. Mountain Meadows Farm also provides CSA memberships and can be found at most of the area farmers markets.
Location: 248 Bridges Road, Heiskell, TN 37754
Pricing: Not available online or at the time of posting
Black Oak Farms
This farm specifically mentions raised beds for their strawberry picking which can make it easier for the littles and perhaps less mucky. Because a busy day of picking can wipe out the ripe strawberries, they do not offer picking everyday. Be sure to call ahead ((865) 548-0959) and ask when the next available picking day will be!
Location: 7235 Corryton Rd, Corryton, TN 37721
Pricing: Not available online or at the time of posting. Baskets are provided.
The Fruit and Berry Patch
You just have to love farmers! Picking your own fruit at the Fruit and Berry Patch is on the honor system. You simply pick the fruit, weigh it at the posted price, mark the envelop available at the cash register with each product and purchase price, place the money in the envelope and drop into slot beside the cash register. Don’t forget to include sales tax on processed items such as apple butter, Bar-B-Q sauce and slushes. I mean honestly, the lights go out in Target and they lock the store down so no one leaves with a jar of Nutella.
Location: 4407 McCloud Road, Knoxville, TN 37938
Pricing: Posted at register
Word to the wise, most farmers recommend long pants and close-toed shoes for this activity so overalls tucked into those cute, red wellies should be perfect!
These are just a handful of local farms offering PYO strawberries. Feel free to share your favorite places to go for strawberry picking in East Tennessee in the comments section!