Fresh Tennessee strawberries are ripe and ready

Published 11:01 am Friday, April 24, 2020

Farmers across Tennessee say sweet and juicy strawberries are ready for harvest despite the COVID-19 effect on consumers. While picking your own berries from the field will not be the same this year, you will still find the freshest fruit by going straight to the source.
Pick-your-own farms in Tennessee are modifying operations this season by providing pre-picked fruit and limiting the number of people in the field at a time. Some farms offer online or order-by-phone and have implemented pick up, drive through or delivery options.
“We want to assure our customers that we are abiding by CDC standards to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Jimmy McCulley of Amazin’ Acres of Fun in White County said. “We have hand washing facilities for customers who want to pick their own strawberries. For customers who come inside the market, we have tape on the floor showing 6-foot distancing and have installed plexiglass on the countertop separating the customer from us.”
Another farmer in Hamilton County agrees the logistics are different, but they are ready to sell. “We have planted more acres in strawberries this year to ensure we can provide many more berries than in the past two years,” Smith-Perry Berries partner Will Perry said. “We have researched best practices for farms during these unprecedented times, and we will follow all recommendations. Our produce stand parking lot will be the sales area this year. Customers can stay safely in their cars and we will serve them in a drive-through format.”
Locally, Scott’s Farms in Unicoi say their strawberries will be ripening soon. In addition to their market site in Unicoi, stands are set up in local communities, from which the strawberries can be purchased.
Call local growers to find out when their patch is ready to pick and any adjustments to hours and buying options. Depending on weather, the typical strawberry season lasts four to six weeks, so head to a farm now for the freshest, best tasting strawberries.

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