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Go Ask Mom

Strawberry Season: Six farms with more than berries

Posted April 28, 2015
Updated April 29, 2015

Heavy rains across central North Carolina caused extensive damage to crops, especially strawberries.

Strawberry season is officially here!

Most farms have opened over the last week or so, offering pre-picked berries at a farm stand or you-pick opportunities in the fields. We have nearly 90 farms, farm stands and farmers' markets on our strawberry database. I can taste the strawberry shortcake now!

My kids and I love to go strawberry picking and will check out a couple of farms this season. And while we love berry picking, it's always great when you can make a long day of it, adding another activity to the fun.

I know of a handful of berry farms in the region which not only offer you-pick fields, but also playgrounds or other activities to pass the time.

Here's where to find them. As always, if you know of others, please share!

Phillips Farm of Cary

The Cary farm's family fun park is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays, though hours can change with weather and strawberry supplies. If the berries are all picked, the fun park will close as well. The cost to play in the park, which includes a jumping pillow, playground, farm animals, a cow train ride, a wagon ride, a combine slide, pedal cart race track and more, is $5 per person. Kids 2 and under are free. Be sure to check the farm's Facebook page for the most up-to-date information about opening and closing times. The farm's pick-your-own fields are open for the season (though hours and days depend on the weather and production). Phillips is at 6701 Good Hope Church Rd. in Cary

Vollmer Farm

The Bunn farm, popular for its certified organic produce, also features a farm market, ice cream shop and small play area for kids, including swings, a play set and a small airplane to sit in. The farm's pick-your-own fields open Wednesday. Be sure to check before you go. Vollmer is at 677 NC Highway 98 East in Bunn.

Porter Farms and Nursery

The farm's Willow Spring location offers not only pick-your-own fields, but also a small playground, sandbox, swings and a picnic area. The farm market sells homemade ice cream and lemonade, among other goodies. It's at 3525 N.C. Highway 42, Willow Spring.

Smith's Nursery and Produce Farm

For families who come out to pick their own strawberries and shop at the market, the Johnston County farm has a bounce house and a variety of farm animals, including chickens, pigs, goats, a donkey and a rabbit to see. The farm sells chicken feed to the public so kids can feed the chickens. There's also ice cream, flowers and other products. It's at 443 Sanders Rd., Benson. Smith's Facebook page often has the latest information on schedules and whether the fields are open.

Waller Family Farm

There's nothing fancy at this Durham farm - no big playground or inflatable or petting zoo. But the farm does have animals near the pick-your-own fields, including cows, turkeys and chickens. The cows roam the pasture, but you might catch them taking a drink from a pond. The chickens are always available for viewing. I think I've spent hours with both of my girls watching chickens at yards in our neighborhood. The farm's fields should open in early May. The farm's Facebook page is updated daily during the season. It's at 5030 Kerley Rd., Durham.

Buckwheat Farm

The Apex farm has pick-your-own strawberry fields (and blueberries when they are in season). But they also have two horses, goats and free-ranged peacocks to meet. Most weekends, the farm sells BBQ pork sandwiches, hot dogs and chicken wings. They make their own ice cream - sweet potato, pumpkin, blueberry, peach and strawberry - with locally grown produce. They also sell their own jams and jellies, honey and (soon) shitaki mushrooms. There's a picnic area as well. It's at 2700 Holland Rd. in Apex.‚Äč

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