There’s nothing like a bowl of freshly picked strawberries. Sure, you’ve got baseball season heating up, pool openings and maybe an early fireworks display, but the true start of summer comes with strawberry season. The season typically begins in late May and runs until mid- to late June, with the peak hitting in early to mid-June.
We caught up with some local strawberry farmers to get a handle on what we can expect from this year's crop.
“It’s still a little early to tell, but it’s right on track — possibly a little early,” says Diana Stoltzfus, assistant manager of Brook Lawn Farm Market in Lancaster. “We need some more warm sunny weather, but the crop is looking good. They need sun to get color and flavor. The flowers are blooming, and the fruit is developing nicely.”
Farmers are hoping we are past the recent chill and are seeking seasonal showers and warm sunshine.
“Berries have been blooming for two weeks and it takes four weeks from bloom to red berry,” says John Shenk, of Shenk’s Berry Farm in Lititz. “So judging by the blooms, we hope to have berries through the first three weeks of June. There’s good potential. There are lots of flowers and berries. It depends on a good mix of rain and sun.”
Here are four places to pick-your-own strawberries, along with for picking strawberries, information about upcoming festivals and recipes.
BRECKNOCK ORCHARD FARM MARKET
Where: 390 Orchard Road, Mohnton.
Season: Begins about May 27 and runs to late June.
Price: Not yet set for this season.
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, closed.
Details: Free bottles of water available for pick-your-own customers. Containers available for purchase. Wagons available.
Special events: Strawberry Festival on June 1 and June 8. Visit website for details.
Info: 717-445-5704; brecknockorchard.com.
BROOK LAWN FARM MARKET
Where: 2325 Lititz Pike, Manheim Township.
Season: Begins late May and lasts until late June.
Price: Not yet set for this season.
Hours: Pick-your-own-strawberry season has different hours than market hours. Call or visit the market’s Facebook page for updates. Market hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, closed.
Details: Boxes are available for sale.
Info: 717-569-4748; brooklawnfarmmarket.com
FARM WAGON PRODUCE
Where: 1061 Weaverland Road, East Earl
Season: June 1 through June 2
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
SHENK’S BERRY FARM
Where: 911 Disston View Drive, Lititz.
Season: Begins early June (call or check website for updates) and runs to late June.
Hours: Monday.-Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and reopens 4:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon; Sunday, closed.
Info: 717-626-6194; shenkberryfarm.com
MYERS PICK YOUR OWN STRAWBERRIES
Where: 1429 Auction Road, Manheim.
Season: Begins late May and runs to mid- to late June.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, closed.
Details: Boxes are available to collect berries but they recommended you bring your own bowls to take strawberries home.
Info: 717-653-1259; Facebook.com/myersstrawberries/
Joanna W. Schreiber ,of Manheim, last year submitted to LNP this recipe for a classic dessert.
• 2 1/2 cups flour
• 3 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 cup milk
• 1 egg, well beaten
• 1/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
• 1/2 cup strawberries
• Extra strawberries for garnish
Mix all ingredients together and put the mixture in a greased long baking dish or long cake pan.
Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Top with extra strawberries.
Eat with sugar and milk.
These next two recipes for strawberry pies were submitted last year by Charlotte Mellinger, of Ephrata.
STRAWBERRY LOVERS PIE
• 4 cups of diced fresh strawberries
•1 graham cracker pie crust
• 1 (4-ounce) Jell-O sugar-free Cook & Serve vanilla pudding mix
• 1 (14 ounce) box of sugar-free strawberry Jell-O
• 1 1/2 cups water
• Cool Whip or other whipped topping, optional, for serving
Evenly arrange the strawberries on the bottom of the pie crust.
In saucepan, combine the dry pudding mix, dry Jell-O mix and water. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil. Stir often.
Spoon the hot sauce evenly over the berries. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Top with Cool Whip, if desired.
STRAWBERRY CHIFFON PIE
• 1 (3-ounce) package strawberry Jell-O
• 1/4 cup boiling water
• 1 1/4 cups cold water
• 1 cup light Cool Whip
• 2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries, divided
• 1 prepared graham cracker crust
In large bowl, dissolve Jell-O in boiling water, stir in cold water. Refrigerate until lightly thickened.
Fold in whipped topping and 2 cups of the strawberries.
Pour into crust. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set. Garnish with remaining strawberries.