Monday, May 24, 2010

Strawberries Going Fast

I just returned from Rutherford's Strawberries in Maryville, a great u-pick farm. With the rain and other end-of-school-year activities, it's the first chance we've been able to get back. My first trip there May 7 was AWESOME! The plants were dripping with berries and we easily filled our buckets, even with the distractions of kids. I shared tips for picking and making jam here. I vowed to go back in a couple of weeks but well, life never goes as planned.

First of all, we got off later than I'd hoped. Arriving at 10am instead of 9am can make all the difference. The pre-picked broccoli was all gone by 9:30am. This time I did bring all three kids but also Nana to watch them while I speed-picked. My visions of coming home with 25-30 pounds of berries were dashed upon our arrival.

The woman at the stand warned us "the fields were sparse." She was right. For every 10 berries I inspected, I picked 1. Some looked great and then turned over were half rotten. What's even more frustrating was that last week the fields were still bountiful. She said the end of the season is coming quicker this year due to excessive heat awhile back. She said the fields have peaked and they may only last another week or so.

In one hour, I only picked 5.5 pounds. I'll have just enough for a batch of jam and some to eat. Oh well. So if you want berries, get there Wednesday, Friday or Saturday. Has anyone had luck at other local farms?

Basics about the farm:
Address: 3337 Mint Road, Maryville, TN 37803.
Phone: (865) 982-5891
Directions: Their recording gives you detailed directions; I find these better than what I originally got off Yahoo maps. It seems like it's far away, but it usually takes about 15 minutes from the airport to get there.
Price: $1.25 / pound--great price (these are not organic but this farmer works hard to use the minimum amount of pesticides). CASH IS BEST.
Times of operation: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 8am-1pm, 4-8pm

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