Berry Pickin’ We Will Go

 On a recent Sunday afternoon, after a few dreary cloudy and rainy days, I trekked over to Surry at the last minute to pick some fresh strawberries at College Run Farms. You can check out their website at http://www.collegerunfarms.com/. The website is updated daily with conditions for picking. There’s not much time left for the 2018 strawberry season, and all of the rain has certainly caused some havoc. Be sure to take a look at the website if you plan to go.

Getting out of the house was just as paramount to actually picking berries. From Gloucester, I get to enjoy a short drive on the Colonial Parkway before reaching the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry to cross the James River to Surry. For more information about the ferry schedule, check out the VDOT website at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/ferry-jamestown.asp. The ride across the James lasts about 20 minutes before docking . Here are some photos from my ride.  I always find the ferry ride an adventure by itself. Standing along the railing while the wind blows in my face and taking in the views is both peaceful and therapeutic for me. On the ride back to Jamestown, a tug pushing a huge bar passed by; unfortunately, I didn’t get over to that side to snap a photo.

Once you drive off from the ferry docks, the berry farm is about a 5 minute ride. The picking forecast for the day was not overly optimistic given the rain earlier that morning. However, even though some of the fields were wet, I was pleasantly surprised to find some dry rows and plump juicy berries that had somehow avoided getting soft and soggy from the rains. I did arrive prepared after reading the website with my rain wellies. In fact, I chose to pick on the wet rows that had less people so my boots certainly came in handy.  All in all, I was in the fields about 40 minutes total until my basket was overflowing with strawberries. Many were sandy from the rains so it wasn’t hard to resist eating a few while picking on this particular trip. In fact, I didn’t eat the first one until later that evening when I washed off a few to add to a dinner salad.  The entire basket of strawberries cost $9.50 to pick and boy was it fun other than when I was bit by a nasty May fly. That little bugger was persistent and sure enough got me on my hand. I didn’t let it get in the way of filling my basket and enjoying a nice waffle cone of homemade strawberry ice cream at the end.

So the rains held off until after I got back home in the early evening. Whew! The one thing I didn’t take was an umbrella or rain slicker. What a great way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. I wish I would have headed out earlier to enjoy a tasty lunch at the Virginia Diner in Wakefield which is about a 30 minute drive from the berry farm. You can check out their hours of operation and menu at http://www.vadinerrestaurant.com/default.aspx. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve eaten there, and I remember it well. Next trip over, I also want to make a pit stop by Smith’s Fort Plantation which you pass along the way from the ferry to College Run Farms. I’ve visited many of the local plantations during my childhood and adult years, but this one has eluded me. Take a peek here https://www.preservationvirginia.com/visit/historic-properties/smiths-fort-plantation.

Do you have farms in your local area where you can pick in season crops? If so, I encourage you to get out and take advantage. It will be a fun day for sure. Now, what became of all of the strawberries I picked? I’ll save that for my next post.

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