Call before you head out to a you-pick, no matter what the hours or what the website says. Quantity of ripe produce can vary and the last thing these operations want to do is disappoint you.
Wear the right clothing. You’ll probably be on your knees and you’ll definitely be out in a field, so it’s best to wear protective clothing and sun gear.
Make sure to know if there is a limit on the amount you can pick at any one time. Some you-pick operations don’t allow large quantities. Others are limited by the amount of ripe produce any particular day.
Don’t bring dogs or any other animals with you. Children, however, are encouraged.
As a child, Jane Wohletz thought the world of her uncle’s strawberry patch.
“I always wanted a you-pick strawberry patch. I remember doing it when I was little and loved it, loved it so much,” she says. “I just remember going out there with my brothers and my mom and we’d pick and then she’d do jam and we’d help her.”
Now she’s got her very own 20,000-plant you-pick strawberry patch at her family farm off 1100 Road in Lawrence, Wohletz Farm Fresh. The farm, which has been selling produce under the name Tomato Allie at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market for years, opened the you-pick patch last year. Besides wanting to emulate her childhood memories, Wohletz says it’s good to let consumers know that there is a difference between locally grown berries and the ones that have to travel from California or abroad to get to the store.
“The flavor is incredible. The ones in the store, when you break one open, it’s got the white core and they’re not juicy. I think people just think that’s normal,” she says. “Ours, when you cut them open, are red all the way through and you get the juice out of them. That’s a huge difference.”
Wohletz Farm Fresh joins a bushel of local you-pick operations that allow non-farmers to come in and pick their own fruits and veggies from spring until fall, sometimes at a great discount to what consumers would pay retail.
Our Guide to You-Pick Farms
Wohletz Farm Fresh: Harvests strawberries. Plans to open mid-to-late May through mid-to-late June. Located south of Lawrence at 1831 N. 1100 Road. For more information, call 331-3468 or go to www.wohletzfarmfresh.com.
Pendleton’s Country Market: Harvests asparagus, peas, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and squash. Might do tomatoes this year. Open right now for asparagus and through fall for the other vegetables. Located east of Lawrence at 1446 E. 1850 Road. For more information, call 843-1409 or go to www.pendletons.com.
Pome on the Range Orchards and Winery: Harvests asparagus, tomatoes, peppers and okra. Might do corn and cucumbers as well. Open right now for asparagus and through the summer for the other vegetables. Located in Williamsburg, at 2040 Idaho Road. For more information, call 785-746-5492 or go to www.pomeontherange.com.
Berry Good Farm: Harvests strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Plans to open mid-to-late May and be open through September, depending on the harvest. Located at 2309 Riley Road in Ottawa. For more information, call 785-242-8313 or go to www.berrygoodfarm.com.
Buckets of Berries/Vesecky Family Farms: Harvests strawberries, blueberries and sweet corn. Open in early summer. Located at 1814 N. 600 Road in Baldwin City. For more information, call 785-594-2493 or 785-594-3477 or go to www.vesckyfamilyfarms.com.
Lawson Brothers Farm: Harvests strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Open in early summer. Located at 1862 N. 700 Road near Vinland. For more information, call 785-594-3936 or go to www.lawsonbrothersfarm.com.
Gieringer’s Orchard: Harvests peaches, blackberries and raspberries. Open July through August, pick-your-own is done by appointment. Located at 39675 W. 183rd in Edgerton. For more information, call 913-893-9626 or go to www.gieringersorchard.com.
Rees Fruit Farm: Harvests cherries and blackberries. Open in early summer. Located at 2476 Highway 24, near Topeka. For more information, call 785-246-3257 or go to www.reesfruitfarm.com.
Wagon Wheel Orchard: Harvests apples, pears, cherries, apricots, plums, peaches, hazelnuts and almonds. Opens mid-June for cherries, and all summer and through the fall for the rest of the produce. Located at 15380 Edgerton Road in Gardner. For more information, call 913-893-6050 or go to www.wagonwheelorchard.com.
Chestnut Charlie’s: Harvests chestnuts. Opens mid-September through mid-October. Located north of Lawrence at 1840 E. 1450 Road. For more information, call 841-8505 or go to www.chestnutcharlie.com.