by Janet Jonus
If Springtime is marked by daffodils and tulips, Strawberries hearken the start of Summer!
It’s Strawberry Time in Pittsburgh. Sure you can go to a store and pick up a quart of (hopefully) locally grown strawberries. Instead turn this time of the year into Family+Fun and head out to a local farm for a Strawberry Festival or to Pick Your Own (PYO) Strawberries.
Note: As if 2020 and 2021 didn’t upend our lives enough, Family+FunPittsburgh has found out the cold spring temperatures have delayed Strawberry Season this year. We will update this article when the season starts in full.
FamilyFunPittsburgh went to Trax Farms Pick Your Own Strawberries and had a sweet time!
Who wouldn’t want to spend a peaceful morning outside with your loved ones making family memories that will last a lifetime?For many families strawberry picking is an annual event filled with nostalgia. Parents who picked berries with their parents and grandparents return to pick berries with their children.
Trax Farms has over seven acres of fields and four varieties of strawberries. There three PYO fields and they change daily. There are small red signs posted near the Trax Farm sign on Rt 88S. Just follow the signs to the picking fields. The access to these fields can be rough as they are farm fields. There are no paved roads here.
Head for the Red Booth building near the parking lot to pick up a quart or a box to fill with strawberries. The strawberries grow in long rows. You can pick anything from the plants but it is best to pick the larger berries and leave the smaller berries to ripen. Bright, red berries are the tastiest. Make sure you do not step on the plants when changing rows. There are small areas without plants where you can safely step from row to row. Smaller children will need to be lifted over. Most people pick right behind the Booth so these areas are over-picked. The rows farther back and farther out have larger berries and more of them. Please, no eating while picking. Picking is on the honor system. You will pay when you are done picking. Head to the Red Booth to have your strawberries weighed. The cost is $2.99 per pound. We filled up about half of a large box and it cost less than $15.00! A real bargain for delicious, fresh berries.
Strawberry fields are real farm fields. The berries grow close to the ground. The fields are wet from dew in the morning so bring along a fresh pair of shoes and socks in case you end up with wet feet. The fields can get muddy after a rain. There are no restroom facilities in the fields so make sure you go before you pick. The staff also recommends taking wipes for your hands as you may get sticky and dirty. Sunscreen is a must on sunny days. Dress comfortably with closed-toe shoes. The fields are covered in straw and there were some thorny weeds. This is not a place for flip-flops. Bring along water as there are no facilities out in the farm fields.
Pick Your Own Strawberries is fun for the entire family but younger kids may have some problems with the adventure. Strollers cannot be taken into the fields. Toddlers can pick berries but plan on a short stay. You can most likely pick a quart of berries in less than thirty minutes. PYO is recommended for Preschoolers, Kids, Tweens, and Teens.
Trax Farm’s Pick Your Own Strawberries are not yet open daily. Call before you go to make sure picking is open that day. (412-835-3246) The strawberry season is short, around two weeks, but if you miss strawberry season you can always pick blueberries starting in July!
Trax Farms is on Route 88 in the South Hills, near Bethel Park and Finleyville.
Trax has Coronavirus precautions in place. Everyone must stay six feet apart. Masks are required. Containers are single-use only.
Simmons Farms in Peters Township to the south of Pittsburgh has Pick Your Own strawberries, but the season has NOT started yet. Once the season starts, times are usually from 900AM-1200PM and 500PM-800PM on Mondays and Wednesdays and 900AM-1200PM on Friday and 1000AM to 200PM on and Saturdays and Sundays while the strawberries last. It is best to call before you head over to make sure the fields are open. (724-941-1490)
Berry-picking is a great Family+Fun activity, but is best for children who are old enough to follow the rules. Family+FunPittsburgh recommends PYO for older Preschoolers, Kids, Tweens, and Teens.
Simmons is following Coronavirus precautions. Masks are required. Social distancing is also required.
Triple B Farms
Triple B Farms in Monongahela PA has a PYO Strawberries. There season has been delayed as well. Call ahead to check on times and availability. (724-258-3557) When picking is available, the fields are open from 900AM-200PM. Baskets can be purchased at the Farm. Each basket is $14.00.
Triple B is a family destination in the country. They have a farm market, a bee hive, and playgrounds open on certain days and times. Look for a Family+FunPittsburgh article about Triple B coming soon.
Masks are recommended. Social distancing is required.
Berry-picking is a great FamilyFun activity but is best for children who are old enough to follow the rules. Family+FunPittsburgh recommends PYO for older Preschoolers, Kids, Tweens, and Teens.
Call for hours: 724-258-3557. For more information: https://www.triplebfarms.com/picking.html