The 2021 Strawberry season is getting a late start thanks to a cool May. Be sure to check with each farm before heading out as conditions can change throughout the season. Sometimes they need to take a day or two off to let berries ripen,
Ann Arbor Strawberry Picking
Strawberry picking is a great activity with kids. The bushes are low to the ground. It is also pretty easy for young kids to tell when the berries are ripe.
We have picked strawberries many times at Rowe’s Produce Farm in Ypsilanti. Slow Farm in Whitmore Lake is another great option – especially if you want organic strawberries. On June 3, Rowe’s estimated about 10 days until the crop was ready – maybe sooner maybe later. Slow Farm has not yet posted an estimated opening day. At both farms, it is recommended to call or check their Facebook for updated picking conditions. Particularly early and late in the season they cannot always offer a full day of picking or may need to close for a day to wait for more berries to ripen.
Expect small modifications to strawberry picking procedures in 2021 to allow for social distancing. They may limit the number of people picking in a field at a time or have adjusted their check-in/out procedures.
Rowe’s Produce Farm
Rowe’s Produce Farm opened for the season on June 9. They will be offering u-pick strawberry and peas shortly after.
Over the years we picked strawberries at Rowe’s many times. I recommend a weekday if it works for your schedule. The one time we went on a weekend, there were very long lines to check out. Their Facebook page is a great source for updates on picking conditions and changes to procedures for 2021.
Visit Rowe’s Produce Farm at 10570 Martz Rd, Ypsilanti. We typically take I-94 East of Ann Arbor to the Rawsonville Rd exit and head south to Martz Rd.
The regular hours at Rowe’s Produce Farm are 7a-8p daily (last field entry at 7:30p). However, strawberries are often limited in early days and at the end of the season. When berries are in short supply, they may close early or take a few days off to let the berries ripen. I suggest calling (or checking their Facebook status) to see if they still have strawberries available for the day.
Strawberries are $2.59/lb – a $0.10 increase from last year. Boxes for picking are provided free of charge when you check in at the barn to find out which fields are currently available for picking.
We have picked strawberries at Rowe’s several times through the years and my daughter loves helping to pick the berries. In Kindergarten my daughter stated that “Strawberry picking is almost as much fun as recess” – my Facebook memory feed reminds me of it every year.
What else is available?
Rowe’s usually has ingredients necessary for cooking with strawberries – pectin, glaze for pies, etc.
They also have u-pick peas. The peas are typically a few days behind strawberries – they estimate around June 19 for sugar snap peas and later for English shelling peas. Containers are not provided for peas. The first year we picked our peas into a hat since we did not have a container with us. Bring your own bag, bucket, or bowl – or make do with what you have.
Slow Farm is in Whitmore Lake. They started offering You Pick Strawberries in 2016. They offer certified organic strawberries. They opened on June 8 for u-pick strawberries (announced 20 minutes after I updated this article on June 7). You need to reserve your picking slot in advance. They are currently booked through Sunday, June 13. Strawberries are again $5/lb.
Signups are required with limited slots each hour. Watch their Facebook page as slots tend to fill quickly. While their staff is fully vaccinated, they are asking you to wear a mask when in proximity to staff or others not in your household. Please keep children near you.
Slow Farm is located at 4700 Whitmore Lake Rd, Ann Arbor. From Ann Arbor, Slow Farm is best reached by going north on Whitmore Lake Rd from M-14/Barton Drive. This year the strawberry patch is again on the east side of the road.
During strawberry picking season Slow Farm was open 9a-5p Wednesday-Sunday in 2020. I will updated the hours when the 2021 signups begin.. Be sure to verify picking conditions as they may need to close early/days to allow more berries to ripen. They will also close in case of lightning.
What else is available
U-pick asparagus finished on June 6. They will also be offering greens, beans, flowers, tomatoes, pumpkins, and squash. New to their farmstand are greens, sweet corn, melons, and popcorn.
Honey Bee U-Pick
For the first time in 2021, Tantre Farm is offering U-Pick Strawberries at their new location- Honey Bee U-Pick. They opened on June 12 and should be open for several weeks. Berries are $3.50/lb. They will have buckets, but suggest bringing containers to transfer the strawberries to – they will have bags or cardboard trays if needed.. Already picked berries will be available for $5/quart. Details were available in the June 6 newsletter from Tantre Farms.
Honey Bee U-Pick is at the corner of Zeeb & Scio Church Rd. They suggest using 5700 Scio Church Rd as a GPS address to get close tot he farm entrance.
They will be open 8a-7p
Spicer Orchards offers a number of fruits for u-pick including strawberries. Strawberries are currently available for u-pick as of June 7. Call first (810-632-7692) to verify daily picking conditions. Strawberries are $3.25/pound plus $1.25 for a tray.
Spicer Orchards is in Fenton, right off of US-23. Their address is 10411 Clyde Rd, Fenton.
Spicer Orchard is currently open 8a-7p. Once the strawberry season starts, they may extend their hours to include morning hours.
What else is available
Spicer Orchards also offers u-pick cherries, raspberries, blueberries, plums, and apples. These seasons don’t typically overlap with strawberries.
Note: Spicer Orchards has a wagon to the field. Their website says they follow current state guidelines on masking, but does not clarify whether they are required on the wagon.
Do you know of other places to pick strawberries? I have heard that Spicer Orchards in Fenton offers strawberries. We have visited for cherries and apples in the past. But, they are too far of a drive for me when Rowe’s and Slow Farm are closer.
Strawberry Picking Tips
After strawberry picking a few times, we have a few tips to share for newbies.
What to bring:
- Make sure to wear sunscreen
- A hat is also a great idea
- Long pants or tall socks/boots are a great idea
- Where closed toe shoes or boots – not flip-flops or sandals
- Bring water bottles – for hydration and to rinse a few berries for sampling
- Insect repellent – we never had an issue with mosquitos at Rowe’s but I like to be prepared – especially with a bad tick season
- Cash – As of a few years ago, they did have a credit card reader, but in my experience they are not always reliable
When to Pick:
- Weekends are very crowded – At Rowe’s we once waited over an hour in our car to go through checkout on a Saturday.
- Pick on a weekday
- Mornings are cooler – and may be less crowded
2021 Social Distancing Suggestions
- Stay home when you are sick
- Make sure you have masks. You may not need them in the field, but have it for transactions and if you are picking in close proximity
- Try to pick when it is less crowded
- Check for any special policies this year.
- Do you need your own container?
- Are they only accepting credit/debit cards instead of cash?
Do you have any other tips to share? Add them in the comments
I love having fresh berries around the house. In addition to eating the berries, I typically make strawberry jam. My husband loves Strawberry Pie. Plus, check out our recipes that use fresh strawberries:
Do you have a favorite Strawberry Recipe to share? Add a link in the comments.
Don’t want to pick your own strawberries, but still want fresh fruits? Check out one of the many farmers markets in the area.