You can pick your own strawberries and black raspberries at Stokes Berry Farm in Wilmington. CONTRIBUTED/DEBBIE JUNIEWICZ

4 farms where you can pick your own berries this summer

One local farm reports big increase in pick-your-own berry business

Sunshine, blue skies and juicy berries as far as the eye can see — what could be better?

Pick-them-yourself berry farms have long been a summer mainstay for many, but even more people are choosing gardens over grocery stores these days.

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“We have probably experienced a 400 percent increase this year,” said Stephanie Stokes, owner of Stokes Berry Farm in Wilmington. “We have had a whole new surge of families who are tired of being cooped up at home. It’s the first fun, safe activity they can do as a family.”

You can pick your own strawberries at Stokes Berry Farm in Wilmington. CONTRIBUTED/DEBBIE JUNIEWICZ
Photo: Contributing Writer

The coronavirus pandemic sparked a desire for self-sufficiency when it comes to the food supply chain. Empty grocery shelves have been matched by empty shelves of fruit and vegetable plants and empty racks of seeds at local garden centers.

But you don’t need acres of land to get fresh produce. Ripe, juicy berries can be found close to home as the Miami Valley has several pick-your-own berry farms. And berry picking is much more fun than a trip to the grocery store — think outdoor scavenger hunt with tasty treats as the prize.

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Amanda Matthias has fond childhood memories of berry picking with her aunt in Michigan. Now, the Washington Twp. woman is sharing the cherished tradition with her daughter.

“I love being outdoors and I love the hunt — looking for just the right berry,” Matthias said. “I also love finding new ways to use the berries with my daughter and, of course, we love eating our collaborations.”

Lifting up the leaves and searching for the perfect berry can be a challenge for all ages. Pick a few perfect juicy, red berries and move on to another patch or a nearby row.

Strawberries are the current ripe berry at Stokes Berry Farm in Wilmington, but black raspberries will soon be available. CONTRIBUTED/DEBBIE JUNIEWICZ
Photo: Contributing Writer

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“The pure joy you see on the kids’ faces — everyone’s faces — is just so wonderful,” Stokes said.

Strawberries are the current ripe berry at Stokes, but black raspberries will soon be available. Other local berry farms offer blueberries, red raspberries and, even, gooseberries. Grapes and apples will be available later in the year.

Fresh fruit and family fun, berry picking at local farms offers a full serving of both.

“We want to produce healthy fruit and provide an authentic experience for families,” Stokes said.

Because berries are seasonal, please check the farm’s websites or call to make sure pick-yourself-berries are still available.

You can pick your own strawberries and black raspberries at Stokes Berry Farm in Wilmington. CONTRIBUTED/DEBBIE JUNIEWICZ
Photo: Contributing Writer

FRESH FRUIT PICKING CLOSE TO HOME

Champaign Berry Farm

What: Red and black raspberries, gooseberries

Where: 5676 E. State Route 29, Urbana

More info: Visit the farm’s Facebook page, website or call 937-232-7525.

Monnin’s Fruit Farm

What: Strawberries, raspberries, grapes and apples

Where: 8201 Frederick Pike, Dayton

More info: Visit the farm’s Facebook page, website or call 937-890-4536

Once in a Blue Moon Farm

What: Blueberries

Where: 3984 E. Social Row Road, Waynesville

More info: Visit the farm’s Facebook page or call 937-586-8749

Stokes Berry Farm

What: Strawberries and black raspberries

Where: 2822 Center Road, Wilmington

More info: For updates on what is ripe as well as hours, visit the farm’s Facebook page, website or call (937) 317-0074

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