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U-Pick Season Opens in Hillsborough County

If you’re looking for family fun this spring, why not consider one of the dozens of u-pick farms a short drive from Westchase?

Florida’s springtime holds an abundance of u-pick opportunities. Strawberries are in season now. In a few months, blueberries will be ready. On farms within an hour of Westchase, you can find all sorts of homegrown vegetables.
One of the best ways to ensure you get the freshest fruits and vegetables is to pick them yourself. If you take your children with you, they’ll gain a new appreciation of where food comes from and have fun at the same time.

If you’re itching to get started, many farms in Plant City open their strawberry fields to the general public once their commercial season is over. A few are open for picking throughout the season.

Fresh blueberries begin to ripen in late March. While there are many farms in Dover and Plant City that allow you to pick your own blueberries, there are two close to Westchase in Odessa: Church Lake Farms and Blueyouth Berries (which also has blackberries in late May).

If you are willing to drive a bit, you can find farms with more fruits and vegetables. An hour away in Dade City, you can pick peaches in mid-April. Artesian Farms in Ruskin has tomatoes during the spring and fall.

If you are interested in picking vegetables, especially heirloom or hard to find varieties, Big Bear Farms in Plant City is an organic farm that offers seasonal vegetables year round and blueberries in early April. This spring they will have rattlesnake beans, French filet green beans, a variety of onions and squash in addition to mustards, turnips and collards. Fort Lonesome Farm in Lithia has seasonal vegetables and a variety of citrus fruits available to pick. 

The days and hours that a farm is open and the availability of fruits or vegetables vary during the season, so you should always call or visit its Web site before you go. A few like Blueyouth Berries and Big Bear Farms will e-mail you when they are open if you send them your e-mail address.

A few good Web sites for overall information are http://www.localharvest.org and www.pickyourown.org/FL.htm.

Strawberries

Season: Mid-February; however, some farms are not open to the general public until the commercial season is over at the end of March.

Favorite Farms
10070 McIntosh Road, Dover
986-3949
http://www.favoritefarms.net

Parke HydroFarms
3715 Tanner Road, Dover
927-4049
http://www.parkehydro.com

Shady Acres Farm
3420 Gallagher Road, Dover
659-0222

Spivey Farms
6101 South County Road 39, Plant City
650-8999
http://www.myspiveyfarms.com

Wish Farms
100 Stearns Street, Plant City
752-5111
http://www.wishfarms.com

Blueberries

Season: Mid-March to end of May.

Alpha Growers Blueberries
5615 W.O. Griffin Road, Plant City
245-6818

Big Bear Farms, Inc.
7606 Kinard Road, Plant City
986-1152
http://www.bigbearfarms.mysite.com

Blueyouth Berries
8201 Cosme Road, Odessa
215-2237
http://www.blueyouthberries.com

Church Lake Farms
16321 McGlamery Road, Odessa
http://www.churchlakefarms.com/Welcome.html

D&K Blueberry Farm
4234 Brackwood Road, Seffner
802-0406

Evergreen Farm
734 Jerry Smith Road, Dover
601-2630

Glover’s Blueberries
4612 S. Calhoun Road, Plant City
763-0399

Hollow Creek
1204 Holloway Road, Plant City
478-1253

Rise and Shine Farms
3907 Heathcoe Road, Plant City
659-3774

Blackberries

Season: Late May to early July.

Blueyouth Berries
8201 Cosme Road, Odessa
215-2237
http://www.blueyouthberries.com

Peaches

Season: Mid-April through June.

Peaches of Pasco
12119 Ducklake Canal Road, Dade City
714-1112

Seasonal Vegetables

Season: Throughout fall, winter and spring.

Big Bear Farms, Inc.
7606 Kinard Road, Plant City
986-1152
http://www.bigbearfarms.mysite.com

Fort Lonesome Farm
15433 County Road 39 South, Lithia
699-2058
http://www.fortlonesome.org/FarmInfo.html

Hydro Harvest Farm
1101 Shell Point Road E. Ruskin
645-6574
http://www.hydroharvestfarms.com

Parke HydroFarms
3715 Tanner Road, Dover
927-4049
http://www.parkehydro.com

Citrus Fruits

Season: November through end of April.

Fort Lonesome Farm
15433 County Road 39 South, Lithia
699-2058
http://www.fortlonesome.org/FarmInfo.html

Tomatoes

Season: throughout the spring and fall

Artesian Farms
2910 East College Avenue, Ruskin
645-3211

By Marcy Sanford

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