Canada's Condominium Magazine
Strawberry-picking season begins mid-June, so this is the perfect time to get outside and explore your community. Berry-picking has become a summer tradition for Torontonians as well as those in surrounding locations. Many who grew up in southern Ontario spent summers picking berries and now enjoy carrying on that tradition with their own families. In many instances, you will have to travel a bit, but it is well worth it. A day at any of the area farms is an enjoyable way to spend time together.
Take the whole family for an outing and pick your own berries at one (or more) of the area’s farms. Prime berry-picking season is in June and July, and many area farms offer the community access to their berry patches so they can have a more personal experience, rather than simply purchasing the berries from their local market. Some of these farms also offer a variety of other activities, such as playgrounds for the kids, wagon and hay rides, scavenger hunts, and more. The following locations are some of the GTA’s best berry-picking spots.
Applewood Farm Winery
The Passafiume family’s Applewood Farm Winery is located on McCowan Road in Stouffville. The farm provides free wagon rides to and from the berry patch. Children will enjoy the playground as well, and guests are given samples of the farm’s famous strawberry cider.
Andrews’ Scenic Acres
Andrews’ Scenic Acres, located on 10th Sideroad in Milton/Halton Hills, offers pick-your-own rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, and gooseberries. The farm also offers a playground for the children, as well as a picnic area and free hayrides. Farm animals roaming the grounds include goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, and rabbits.
Located on Powerline Road in Brantford, this farm offers strawberries from June to July. In addition to picking berries, visitors can stop by the farm’s market to purchase a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, jams, and pickles.
Downey’s Farm Market
This Brampton farm, located on Heart Lake Road, offers a family play area, winery, and more. Strawberry-picking starts towards the end of June. The minimum picking fee is $4, which is paid upon entrance. The fee is then discounted from the final price of the berries that you pick.
Forsythe Family Farms
Forsythe Family Farms is located on Cragg Road in Greenbank. This farm allows guests to pick their own strawberries but also offers peas, beans, tomatoes, and pumpkins. Children will enjoy the barnyard adventure playground, and guests can also visit the farm animals. Weekend visitors are also treated to scavenger hunts and wagon rides.
Organics Family Farm
This environmentally-friendly farm, located on 19th Avenue in Markham, avoids pesticides and inorganic fertilizers. It also has limited reliability on fossil fuels. The farm offers a variety of organic products; and like other farms, strawberries come into season in mid-June with raspberries following in July.
Redbarn Berries & Veggies
This is a smaller, family-owned farm on County Road 17 in Woodstock. Strawberries are in season in June and raspberries in July. The farm also contains a market, where fruits and vegetables may be purchased.
Reesor Farm Market
The Reesor Farm Market is located on Ninth Lane in Markham. Guests can purchase fresh strawberries from the market or pick their own out in the field in late-June and early July.
Stonehaven Farm Market
The Stonehaven Farm Market, located in Milton, allows visitors to pick their own strawberries from mid-June to mid-July. Stonehaven does not charge an entry fee, though they do determine strawberry prices at opening.
Walch Family Strawberries
Located on Road 119 in Stratford, this farm specializes in strawberries, hence the name. This means that visitors to this farm have access to the best strawberries around.
Located on Highway 2 in Bowmanville, this family-owned farm offers strawberries starting mid-June and raspberries starting early July. Visitors may also learn some new recipes for the newly-picked strawberries. Watson Farms also sells a variety of foods, including asparagus, honey, and baked goods.
Tips for Visitors and Berry-Pickers
If you are planning to visit one of these farms, whether to peruse the market, visit the farm animals, picnic, or pick berries, be sure to call ahead first. Doing so will ensure that you do not travel all that way for nothing. Some of the farms have inconsistent opening hours, depending on a number of factors such as weather and available crops.
Berry-picking, as well as other farm-related tasks and activities, can be pretty messy. After all, you are kneeling in the dirt, handling juicy berries, playing with farm animals, riding in wagons, playing on playgrounds, and more. Be sure to dress for the occasion. Old t-shirts and jeans would be the most appropriate attire for a day like this. Make sure it is something that you do not mind getting covered in dirt, grass stains, and berry juices.
Be prepared. You will want to bring your own baskets or containers for berry-picking. Most farms do not supply them. However, some may have them available for purchase. You may want to ask about this as well when you call ahead.
Be gentle, whether you are picking berries or playing with the farm animals. Be sure to keep an eye on children as well so that they do not get too rough with the animals or damage the crops. Pull strawberries off the bush by twisting the stem and let it roll into your palm. Raspberries should be removed gently as well. If they are ripe, they will come off easily. Avoid overfilling and packing down the berries. This will not help you to fit more in your basket. All that it will accomplish is squashing the berries you do have.