Take children to pick their own strawberries
A hankering for fresh strawberries recently led our family of four to Jacquemin Farms, 20 minutes from Columbus in Plain City, Ohio.
My husband, Mike, wanted some sun-ripened berries to flavor a batch of homemade ice cream. We also thought collecting the strawberries together would make a fun family outing.
A quick search on the Internet revealed a number of pick-your-own strawberry farms in central Ohio. We selected Jacquemin Farms, 7437 Hyland Croy Rd., which has a three-acre, pick-your-own strawberry patch that includes five varieties of the juicy red berries.
Unseasonably warm weather has caused the strawberries to ripen ahead of schedule. Strawberry picking times at Jacquemin Farms are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, through the end of June.
Founded in 1987, Jacquemin Farms offers fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a small retail shop with home-style jams and jellies, and freshly fried doughnuts with strawberry glaze.
Almost all the crops sold in the shop are grown on the farm including strawberries, peas, red raspberries and pumpkins, all of which can be freshly picked by customers. Other crops, such as apples, peaches, cherries and blackberries, come from nearby farmers.
We arrived on a sunny Saturday morning ready to pick just enough berries for our ice cream. At a cost of $2 per pound, we grabbed two, one-quart containers to fill ourselves. The total cost, with a couple of strawberry slushies for the kids, was five bucks.
We were directed to a row of strawberries and asked to stay in our row. We were encouraged to eat and enjoy fresh-picked berries as we filled our containers.
A sign says that children must stay within 10 feet of their berry-picking elders. It also says not to step on the plants, words that I had to repeat several times to my children.
You can take as long as you’d like picking your berries, kneeling on the straw-covered mud walkways. Our chore was completed in about 30 minutes.
I enjoyed being out in the sunshine pinching berries fresh from the vine and seeing so many others doing the same.
Mike thought the berries were kind of small, but I liked them because they tasted much better than the giant, unnatural-looking ones you see nowadays in the supermarket. The bite-size gems produce 10 times the flavor as their counterparts and are perfect for homemade strawberry ice cream.
For more information, visit www.jacqueminfarms.com. For current information on what’s ready to pick and when, follow Jacquemin Farms on Facebook or call 614-873-5725.
The farm is open through October.