Even if the world stopped in 2020 and things continue to be canceled and shut down, crops continue to grow and remind us that the world is still turning, even if not the way we’d like it to be. As spring arrives, we see flowers in bloom and watch the first of the season’s produce sprout, including wonderfully sweet strawberries.
WITH THEIR VIBRANT RED HUE and variety of ways to be enjoyed (a strawberry daquiri may be the best during these times!), North Georgians can leave their homes and find berries at roadside stands, U Pick farms and the return of the sweetest spot to be, the Georgia Strawberry Festival. So, with hope, head on out and pick up a basket of berries and remind yourself how wonderful it is to live in North Georgia.
An integral part of this season of fun is the historic Jaemor Farms’ annual U-Pick Strawberry Day, which often takes place the first Saturday in May, depending on the weather. This 500-acre family-owned and -operated farm was originally established in 1912 and its annual event features hayrides, a petting zoo, farm games and vendors selling strawberry-themed items from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pre-picked buckets are also sold. 5340 Cornelia Hwy., Alto, 770-869-3999
And while Burt’s Farm in Dawsonville is famous for its pumpkins, this family farm launched spring and summer treats to enjoy. Boasting some incredibly juicy red strawberries to pick not to mention everything strawberry under the sun, including homemade strawberry ice cream, strawberry shortcake, strawberry milkshakes and just about any delicacy you can imagine! The farm will also be selling fresh vegetables too. And if you are looking to extend your spring fun, grab some of their mouth-watering BBQ and head to a picnic at nearby Amicalola Falls. 5 Burts Pumpkin Farm Rd, Dawsonville, 706-265-3701
Established in 1998, the Georgia Strawberry Festival is celebrated in Reynolds on the fourth weekend in April. Last year’s South Georgia event had to be canceled due to the pandemic but organizers at press time are excited about bringing the event back with safety measures in place. (Fingers crossed nothing changes!)
Although it may be enjoyed behind the safety of a mask, the annual event this year takes place April 23 and 24 and promises to offer plenty of yumminess beyond the berries with arts and crafts, free activities for kids, a petting zoo, live music, a parade, tractor show, and competitions that include a photography contest, 5k race and a socially distanced strawberry pie-eating contest.
PICK ‘EM UP
U-Pick farms are a perfect way to enjoy a sunny spring day safely. Family owned and operated strawberry patches will be open daily, although U-Pick will be dependent upon government restrictions that are not confirmed at press time. Farms with U-Pick will offer poly gloves and social separation, often requiring a reservation slot. Here are North Georgia’s strawberry farms to get your fresh produce this season. Be sure to contact them directly to find out this season’s protocols.
7M FAMILY FARMS. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (until 3 on Saturdays), this Blairsville family farm will be open for U Pick and has a year-round farm store with local jellies and arts and crafts for sale. 596 Crump Creek Road, Blairsville, 706-897-1164
THE BERRY PATCH AT FREEDOM FARM. This is your one-stopshop for strawberries! The farm planted more than 13,000 strawberry plants last fall and will take reservations to visit for the picking season to make sure it doesn’t get overcrowded. 2363 Ballground Road, Chatsworth, 762-219-7379
LCCL STRAWBERRY FARM. During the 6 to 8 weeks of strawberry season, head over to this berry farm and pick ‘em by the pound. Weekends kids can enjoy train rides for just $1. Pre-picked berries are also available. Open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, until 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. 3743 Old Dalton Road, Rome, 706-295-2587
WARBINGTON FARMS. This Forsyth farm is owned by its third-generation farmers who plant 3 acres of strawberries each year for U-Pick. The farm’s Fun Park features a petting zoo, tractor rides, playground, obstacle course and more. 5555 Crow Road, Cumming, 770-889-1515
MERCIER ORCHARDS. More than just an apple orchard, Mercier grows strawberries available for U-Pick on the farm that originally opened in 1943. The fourth generation of family continue to run the farm, which features a winery, market store, bakery and café. Call ahead for a U-Pick time, or visit the market and bakery open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 8660 Blue Ridge Drive, Blue Ridge, 706-632-3411
SIMS FAMILY FARM. With U-Pick and We-Pick strawberries offered between mid-April and early June, find Chandler, Camarosa and Sweet Charlie strawberries at this family farm that has been operating since 1946. 1608 Burning Bush Road, Ringgold, 706-866-4062
MOON FARMS COUNTRY MARKET. Originating more than 70 years ago, Moon Farms plants more than 25,000 strawberry plants—Camarosa and Chandler—each year for picking in the Athens area. Prepicked and U-Pick is available daily. 3498 GA-72, Colbert, 706-338-0065
Strawberries also make the deliciously sweet strawberry wine that, served chilled, is perfect for a hot Georgia day. You can find Georgiamade strawberry wines at these wineries and tasting rooms:
SWEET ACRE FARMS. This family-owned farm and winery is home to Sugar Pie, its mascot donkey. Relax on the farm with rocking chairs on a wraparound porch inviting you to sit and sip its Sweet Ass Strawberry wine ($18.99). Open 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays; 1 to 8 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays; 12:30 to 7 p.m. Sundays; and 1 to 6 p.m. Mondays. 7584 Bill Wilson Road, Alto, 678-769-5335
BLUE RIDGE CELLARS. Paulk Vineyards, located in Wray, Georgia, makes its own strawberry wine, which can be sampled and purchased at Blue Ridge Cellars. (Or you could take a road trip to its tasting room!) Locally, the Blue Ridge tasting room is family-friendly (little ones can enjoy ice cream and soft baked pretzels) and offers four wine tastings for $20. Reservations required for groups of 5 or more. 500 E. Main St., Ste. 206, Blue Ridge, 706-946-1416
CURRAHEE VINEYARD & WINERY. This North Georgia wine grower has a strawberry-infused muscadine called Sunset ($17), which is also available in a strawberry slushy mix. Visit the vineyard and enjoy a picnic with views as you sample some of its selections. 3301 W. Currahee, Toccoa, 706-768-5383