York County farms prepare for annual pick-your-own despite weather

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

The Beatles might have sung about strawberry fields forever, but one local "pick-your-own" strawberry farm is closing its fields for the summer.

Brown's Orchards & Farm Market announced Thursday that its pick-your-own strawberry fields will be closing for the summer.

Linda Gallagher, marketing director for Brown's Orchards, said storms and hail affected crops last year, so the farm needed to replant strawberries, and the plants have not reached full maturity yet. 

Despite that, Gallagher said Brown's Orchards' blueberry, cherry and raspberry picking will be ready by mid-June, though the exact date will depend on Mother Nature.

Brown's Orchards, 8892 Susquehanna Trail South, will be open for pick-your-own from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. 

Strawberry Festival at Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards in Dillsburg, Saturday, June 1, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Despite storms this week causing extensive damage to York County, Paulus Mount Airy Orchards in Warrington Township has been "pretty fortunate," said owner Karen Paulus.

Citing hail as one of the bigger enemies for crops, Paulus said that besides some rain, they haven't had too many problems. 

Paulus Mount Airy Orchards, 522 E. Mount Airy Road, began this season's pick-your-own strawberries May 25. 

It's open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. There is no pick-your-own on Sundays. Strawberries are $2.49 per pound.

Adelyn Swartz, 5, of Carroll Township, drops strawberries into containers while picking with her family during Strawberry Festival at Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards in Dillsburg, Saturday, June 1, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

In order to control situations during bad weather, Paulus said, the farm places plant cloths atop the patches ahead of time. 

Lora Hartzell, the owner of Barefoot Farm in Dover Township, also said hail is one of the worst hindrances to strawberry crops, but her farm has "been blessed" to not have had any with the recent storms.

Barefoot Farm, 6621 Bluebird Lane, opened its strawberry fields for picking just after Memorial Day.

With strawberries sold at $2.75 per quart, Barefoot Farm's hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It is closed on Sundays.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at  @tina_locurto.