• liveblesstravel

U-Pick Strawberry Farms (in N Florida)


I like a U-pick farm. It seems blueberry and blackberry farms are closer to me than strawberry farms. My family isn’t wild about blueberries or blackberries, so when I hear of a U-pick strawberry farm, I tend to get a little excited.


We’ve been to one in Hawthorne, Florida and one in Lawtey, Florida. Both are approximately an hour drive from where we live.

The one in Hawthorne is called Brown's Farm. We went mid-March 2019, and the berries were amazing. We loved them so much that we went back at the beginning of April 2019; however, the berries weren’t as great this time. By the beginning of April, many were overly ripe (i.e. “squish” in your hand) or just not sweet. I had planned on going mid-March 2020, but that is right when the beginning of COVID happened, and we were staying home. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to Brown’s Farm in 2020.


In fact, I figured strawberry season was over based on my experience in 2019. However, someone posted about Crawford Farms in Lawtey, Florida. I had never heard about it. But when I discovered it was an hour drive and actually on our way to Gainesville, Florida (which we were headed to for Memorial Day), we decided to make a stop. We were there on Memorial Day 2020, and the berries were sweet! In fact, I would say some of the sweetest I have had in a long time. It was worth the pit stop!

The one negative I have found with both Brown’s Farm and Crawford Farms is that I never seem to be driving straight home after picking. We live in Florida, so it is hot. I haven’t found a way to get the berries home and in the refrigerator without some getting mushy. I’ve taken a cooler, but it hasn't help. I’m still researching a way to manage that piece of the picking puzzle.

Almost everything you read says not to wash strawberries until you are ready to eat them. In our house, I have found if they aren’t washed, then people won’t eat them. But if they are washed and cut, then people are more likely to eat them. Therefore, I come home, wash them, cut off the stems, and cut the berries in half. I found that the Rubbermaid FreshWorks container works wonderfully for keeping the berries lasting awhile. Note: FreshWorks says not to wash the fruit first, but I do. If you don’t, you may get a longer life out of the berries than I do. I have gotten over a week from washed, cut berries in our FreshWorks container. I actually posted about these containers as a #tipTuesday awhile ago. The berries in that post were washed and cut and lasted 8 days...we finished them off at day 8. I don't know how long they would have gone without going bad. You can check out that post {HERE}.


A few things about the farms:

Brown’s Farm:

- They advertise when they are open on their Facebook page, so follow them there. You’ll find other events on this page such as a sunflower u-pick event.

- I’m not familiar enough with them to share their season, but we’ve been twice. Mid-March seemed to be the perfect time to go.

- The workers are nice, explain the rules & what to look for in a berry, and then send you on your way.

- This farm has more rows of strawberries than Crawford Farms.

- The pricing was good, $2 for a pound of berries.

- They have a Port-A-Potty.

- They have a produce stand set up with fruits and vegetables. The selection was much larger than Crawford’s Farms.

- They accept credit cards.

Crawford Farms:

- They advertise when they are open on their Facebook page, so follow them there.

- I’ve heard that even on days when they post they are open, they tend to close early.

- I’m not familiar enough with them to share their season, but Memorial Day was a great day to go this year.

- The workers are nice, but a few are pushy. I really think they just want to sell their berries. And while they think they are being helpful, it’s a bit much. My kids even felt like they were being yelled at a bit for "skipping over" berries. Hey, it's a u-pick, so we will pick the berries we want, right?

- They have many, many rows of berries, but it is not huge.

- The berries here are shaped more like ovals than what you might picture a traditional berry being shaped like.

- The pricing was good, $3 for a pound of berries.

- Of the two farms, they had the sweetest berries.

- They have a Port-A-Potty.

- They have a produce stand set up with fruits and vegetables.

- They only accept cash and Venmo.

We had a great time picking strawberries at Crawford Farm this Memorial Day. After picking the berries, we continued our journey into Gainesville for a Mudslinger Tour.