We're knocking on the door of berry-picking season, people, and living in The Natural State really pays off right about now with all the opportunities to snag some berries with your own hands.
We've featured only a few of them below, so click here to see the full list and safety tips for the whole bunch.
The Cabot Patch and Mountain High Produce
Cabot’s two you-pick strawberry patches are owned by a father and son duo—pick perfect strawberries at either location, The Cabot Patch or Mountain High Produce. Strawberry season typically ends in early June, but this year's weather has shortened the season and the owners hope the season lasts through Mother's Day. Peach season follows in June. Though the farms don’t allow customers to pick their own peaches, you can snag some of the juicy fruit, watermelons and more at their roadside stands. The produce stands are open through the first week of September: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. for strawberry season and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. for peach season. During strawberry season, you can also find the fresh-picked berries at other roadside stands around central Arkansas (visit website for details).
Two locations: The Cabot Patch, 500 Mt. Carmel Road, Cabot; Mountain High Produce, 8881 East Justice Road, Cabot. Picking hours are 7 a.m.-noon daily. You-pick strawberries $2.50 per pound; other produce varies. For info: (501) 605-1313 or (501) 988-4720, www.Facebook.com/CabotPatch.
This multi-tasking farm is a pumpkin patch in the fall, a wedding and event venue, and even a winery. In the spring, families can pick blueberries and blackberries straight off the bush. You’ll find early varieties of blueberries ripening in mid- to late-May; the blackberries come around the first of June. Schedule your visit at the right time and you may be able to leave with quarts of both—for about two weeks the blueberries and blackberries will both be available for picking. On Saturdays, visitors can visit the winery to buy blueberry, blackberry and muscadine wine made from the fruit grown on the farm. Local honey, jams, and assorted fresh veggies are also for sale.
13810 Combee Lane, Roland. Open mid- to late-May through the first of July. Picking hours are 7 a.m.-noon Tuesday Thursday and Saturday. Blueberries and blackberries $2.50 per pint. For info: (501) 519-5666, BoBrookFarms.com.
Wye Mountain Flowers & Berries
On the scenic drive to Wye Mountain, you'll find this family farm that provides pick-your-own blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Blueberries and raspberries will ripen around mid-May, Memorial Day weekend at the latest. Just a few weeks later there will be plenty of Arkansas-bred varieties of thornless Blackberries. You can also pick up freshly cut Zinnias and sunflowers! Plus, field trip groups are welcome by reservation Tues-Thurday; children learn about the flowers, decorate baskets for picking berries, learn how the berries are raised and how to choose the ripe ones, and then pick some to take home.
20309 Hwy. 113, Roland. Open for picking mid- to late-May through mid-July. Picking hours are 7 a.m.-noon Monday-Saturday. Field trip groups are welcome by reservation Tuesday-Thursday ($7 per child; minimum of 10 children). Blueberries and blackberries $20 per gallon, raspberries $8 per quart. For info: (501) 330-1906, WyeMountain.net.
The farms supply buckets or containers to hold your pickings, and many sell or provide water for hot days. But here are a few things to keep in mind before you head to the berry patch.
- Wear sunscreen and/or hats — it gets hot in the field!
- Use an insect repellent — ticks and other bugs are common on the farm — and be aware of stinging insects.
- Wear closed toe shoes.
- Drink plenty of water and bring extra bottles for the whole family.
- Take frequent rests in the shade if you feel hot.