Nothing says summer like a fresh-picked, juicy red strawberry. Though no one pines for a store-bought tomato, the notion of a home-grown one instantly causes mouths to water. Here is a sampling of farms in the area where you can pick (or pick up) succulent fruits and vegetables, straight from the vine.
BYNES BLUEBERRY FARMS: The Waynesboro farm has blueberries for $1 a pound. The fields will open in mid-June and will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but call before you go (they don't post hours). To get there, take U.S. Highway 25 to Waynesboro, turn right on West Sixth Street, then left on Jones Avenue. The farms are at 537 Jones Ave., on the right. (706) 554-6244.
THE STRAWBERRY PATCH: There are three locations open from Monday-Saturday where you can buy strawberries until the end of the season. (The pick-it-yourself season has ended.) The stand at the farm on Highway 25, six miles north of Waynesboro, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also have a stand off Georgia Highway 88, one mile off Highway 25, that is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and one at Mobley's Cafeteria, 222 E. Sixth St., Waynesboro, that is open noon to 5 p.m. Berries are $8.50 a gallon. Call (706) 554-6013.
EAST GEORGIA PRODUCE: This Bartow farm has organically grown produce available at its farm on Moxley-Bartow Road. They're open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. They are harvesting broccoli, cabbage, leaf and head lettuces, and spinach and will have cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers later in the growing season.
Bags of lettuce are $2 each, cabbages are $1 to $2. Tomatoes will likely be priced at $2 a pound.
Their produce is also sold at the Louisville Farmers Market and through a Community Supported Agriculture program. Through the program, you can buy a share for a minimum of $25 a week and get a weekly supply of fresh vegetables. Get to the farm by taking U.S. Highway 1 south through Louisville, and then turn right on Moxley-Bartow Road. Call (706) 410-4570 or see www.gaorganic.com.
PRESCOTT STRAWBERRY FARM: This farm in Wrens, Ga., sells only strawberries and should have them through mid-June. If you pick your own, it'll cost you $7 a gallon. You can call ahead and they'll pick some for you for $9 a gallon. If you need a bucket, you can keep theirs for an additional $1. They're open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Take U.S. Highway 1 to Wrens. Turn right at Ellis Cemetery Road and right again on Gus Perdue Road. Call (706) 547-3717.
GUROSIK'S BERRY PLANTATION: This farm on Briggs Road in North Augusta is in strawberry season, which will continue until early July. You can pick your own for $8.50 a gallon, or pick up some that have been picked for you for $10.50. They also sell lettuce, zucchini and yellow squash. In another week or so, the plantation will also have hybrid blackberries ripe for the picking. Blackberries should be available until early July.
Hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Produce is also available at stands throughout the area that are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Call (803) 278-0594 or see www.gurosiksberryplantation.com. To get there, take Interstate 20 east to Exit 1 in North Augusta. Turn left onto Martintown Road, go about six miles and turn right onto Briggs Road. The plantation will be three miles down on the left.
SWEETWATER CREEK FARMS: The farm on Sweetwater Creek Drive off Martintown Road in North Augusta will open June 1 for blueberry season. They also will have blackberries this year. Prices have not been set, but last year blueberries cost $2 a pound. The farm is about 31/2 miles past I-20. They will be open from 5-9 p.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Call (803) 202-0961
COOK'S ROADSIDE MARKET: This farm in Trenton is harvesting a variety of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, squash, green beans, peas, potatoes, cabbage, strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon and eggplant, available from its roadside stand.
Strawberries are going for $4.50 a quart or $12 a gallon. Other prices vary, depending on the market. Through Memorial Day, the stand is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. After Memorial Day, it will also be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Take I-20 to Exit 5 in North Augusta. Go north toward Edgefield for 13 miles, then turn left onto U.S. Highway 25 North. The farm is about a mile down on the left. Call (803) 275-2970, or see www.cooksfarm.com.
AIKEN FARMERS MARKET: Richland Avenue at Williamsburg Street; 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
BRICKYARD MARKET: 69 Crystal Lake Drive, North Augusta, 6-9 p.m. Fridays
BARNYARD FLEA MARKET: Doug Barnard Parkway, Augusta; 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday
GEORGIA FARMERS MARKET: 1150 Fifth St., Augusta; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturay
SATURDAY MARKET ON BROAD: Eighth and Reynolds streets, Augusta, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays