Seedy ‘hoods: where to pick strawberries

Dave Magee walks through the fields at Burr's Berry Farm. Photo: Patrick Farrell.

Think strawberry fields only appear in Beatles songs? Put on your overalls, city slicker, it’s time to get your farm on.

Any weekend at Burr’s Berry Farm, you can find long lines of people waiting to buy berries and thick, straw-defiant strawberry milkshakes at the wooden stand that sits in front of 30 acres of plants yielding pounds of pure pleasure.

If you want to pick your own berries, head out on Kendall Drive. You’ll find Valerie Stewart behind the counter of Strawberries of Kendall. There’s no sign; just a lot of cars and 12 acres of berries, veggies and flowers. She’ll hand you a couple of empty plastic pints for the berries, then snag a plastic bag for you as well. “In case you see some tomatoes you’d like,” she says. The cost of the berries is $2.50 a pint if you pick your own, $2.75 a pint if you buy them already picked. A second location is on Kendall Drive at Southwest 167th Avenue. Both sell other produce as well as berries, including herbs, tomatoes and beautiful white onions the size of baseballs. Like Burr’s, Strawberries of Kendall has homemade strawberry jam.

Krome Avenue, which is Southwest 177th Avenue, is the north-south farm-country thoroughfare for plant nurseries, fruit stands and u-pic fields. On Krome at 292nd Street, Raymond Kelly oversees the two acres of berries plus tomatoes, onions, cabbage, collards, cucumbers and tomatoes that comprise Carpenter’s U-Pic Field. Green peppers, about as big as a child’s football, are 75 cents each. Martha Corona has a half acre of strawberries at Martha’s U-Pic. Half a block north at Grandma’s Garden, you’ll find packaged berries from Plant City, the home of Florida’s annual Strawberry Festival.

At Knaus Berry Farm, strawberries are a draw along with world-famous sticky pecan buns and cinnamon buns. Owners Barbara and Ray Knaus are Old German Baptist Brethren who began to sell baked goods in the late 1950s as an attraction to farm customers. Like Burr’s and Strawberries of Kendall, this is a family business. Herb Grafe, a son-in-law, says that on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings, a family arrives at 5 a.m. awaiting the 8:30 opening. “They sit out there and my sister-in-law makes them coffee,” he said. You can pick strawberries at Knaus’ Berry Farm as well as tomatoes. But you’ll have to fight your way to the sticky buns.

Published: 1/09

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