Rules of the Rows


Despite the crazy spring weather where warm fronts were followed by late freezes, the strawberry crop survived and pick-your-own strawberry farms are now open.

“We are looking at a very good year for strawberries,” said Dexter Hill, a strawberry marketing specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. “We’re looking at very good yields.”

For those headed out to pick strawberries, we sought advice from Curtis Smith, owner of TC Smith Produce, one of Vivian’s favorite pick-your-own strawberry farms in nearby Seven Springs, N.C., on how to be a good pick-your-own farm visitor.

• Wash your hands before heading out to the fields.

• Stay in the row that you are assigned to by the farmer.

• Be careful when picking. You do not want to pull the berry so hard that you remove the stem, which can leave inside the berry exposed and diminish quality. Instead, lift the berry off the ground and snip the stem.

• Pick clean. Take all ripe berries, no matter the size. Don’t leave behind small, ripe fruit.

• Don’t bring your pets. While many of us consider our furry friends part of the family, they should stay at home during this family outing.

To find a pick-your-own strawberry farm near you, check out these online resources:, which shares locations up and down the East Coast., which searches North Carolina farms., which offers a national search but make sure to call the farm to verify information, such as hours and location.