Despite the recent threat of a hard freeze across Tennessee, the state’s strawberry crop remains unscathed—mostly. The 2014 strawberry season is still on track to be a vibrant crop this year.
Tennessee strawberry growers tend to have loyal customers who make a trip to the strawberry patch an annual tradition. Since strawberry season is relatively brief, lasting just a month or so, strawberry lovers should locate local growers and markets that sell local berries ahead of the season, if possible, to get a shot at this coveted crop. Call local growers to find out when a particular patch is ready to pick, hours of operation, and how the farm’s berries are sold. Some growers provide their own containers, and others expect pickers to bring their own. Some sell pre-picked berries, and will set aside containers berries for those who call ahead. Others may take a certain amount of berries to a local farmers market in a location which might be more convenient for customers than a trip out to a farm.
A new “Pick Tennessee” mobile app from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Pick Tennessee Products program allows users to search for strawberry patches that are closest to the app user, as well as markets where local berries are sold. Once a location has been selected, the app uses GPS mapping to direct those potential customers to that location. The mobile app is free for downloading from both Google Play for Android devices and from the iTunes Store for Apple products.
Statewide directories of strawberry growers and farmers markets are also available at the Pick Tennessee Products Web site, www.PickTnProducts.org.