The strawberry crop is early this year, and the Wichita area has a few patches open where customers can pick their own.
“The nice weather pushed everything way ahead of where we’ve been the last couple years,” said Leslie Gerber, who owns Sweet Berries & Brambles north of Harper with her husband, Joel.
Sweet Berries, in its third year, is open Monday through Saturday for harvest, with hours expanding May 20. The farm will have its third annual Strawberries & Art on June 4. The fair will feature local artists, musicians and food – including barbecue, tacos and tortas – in addition to the fresh fruit for picking. Art will include wood, pottery, paintings, photography and reclaimed furniture. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and admission will be free.
The farm, 45 minutes from west Wichita, is in its third season and is open from 5 to 8 weeknights and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Starting May 20, it will also be open from 8 a.m. to noon every weekday until the strawberries are gone.
That usually takes a month, Leslie Gerber said. That means the harvest should last through about June 10, she said.
That’s about when blueberry picking — also early this year — is expected to start at Chautauqua Hills Farm near Sedan.
Later in the season, blackberries, sand plums and currants also will be available for picking at Sweet Berries.
Other area strawberry patches include:
▪ Sargeant’s Berry Farm, 9836 S. Hydraulic in Haysville. Pick your own or buy already picked. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 316-788-1370, www.facebook.com/sargeants.farm. Blackberries will be available later in the season.
▪ Jester Creek Farm near Newton. You can pick by appointment; call 316-284-0363.
Blackberry season will bring more options:
▪ Blackberry Heaven, 1870 SW Santa Fe Lake Road, Towanda; 316-541-2729.
And then there are blueberries:
▪ Chautauqua Hills Farm, about 1 1/2 hours southeast of Wichita in Chautauqua County, near Sedan. You can pick your own or order for pick-up, both by reservation, or find them at farmers markets. The farm also will have blackberries; chautauquahillsfarm.com, 620-249-3369.