Strawberry season is right around the corner here in North Florida. Typically the farms open at the end of March and stay open through April, but weather conditions and the amount of rainfall we received during the year can always impact exactly when the crops will be ready. Many of the farms are located just outside of Jacksonville and make for a fun day trip with the kids.
Before you set off on your strawberry picking adventure there are a few things to remember to make your day a success. Apply sunscreen and bug spray before you go. Bring cash; many farms don’t take credit cards. Consider packing a snack and drink to keep little ones from getting cranky. Lastly, and most importantly, contact the farm ahead of time to make sure there are berries available and to confirm their hours.
Brown’s Farm is located approximately 90 minutes southwest of Jacksonville. They’ve been in business for almost 80 years and boast an impressive 500+ acres. You are sure to enjoy the great produce, friendly service, and affordable prices. U-pick strawberries are scheduled to open in late March. Their store is open Monday-Saturday – Hours: 9:00am-6:00pm. They accept Cash, Check, Debit cards, Visa/MasterCard, Discover.
Directions: 18120 NE State Road 26 Hawthorne, FL. Take 301 South through Waldo, or 21 South through Keystone Heights.
Contact: 352.475.2015 || Facebook
Rogers Farm is located approximately an hour south of Jacksonville, just north of Gainesville, and offers u-pick strawberries as well as already harvested produce.
Directions: 3831 NW 156th Ave., Gainesville, FL, 32609. Take 1-10 West to 121 South. Continue South on County Road 237. Take County Road 235 and 231 South to 121 South in Alachua County.
Contact: 386.462.2406 || [email protected]
Located West of St. Augustine, Fresh Start offers produce grown using hydroponics. Growing season is generally from mid-September to early June, depending on the weather. Individuals are welcome at the farm to purchase fresh items. Strawberry picking for visitors on Saturday mornings from 10:00 am – 1:00pm (except for the third Saturday of the month). Please call before heading out!
Directions: Follow I-95 S to 9 Mile Rd/International Golf Pkwy in St. Johns County. Take exit 323 from I-95 S. Follow 9 Mile Rd/International Golf Pkwy and Pacetti Rd to your destination.
Contact: 904-495-3237 || [email protected]
In addition to the you-pick farms, there are two large Strawberry Festivals that take place each year. These make for a great day trip from Jacksonville.
Clay County Strawberry Fest – March 4-5, 2017
Family Fun & Festivities, Delicious Food, Plant City Strawberries, Art & Crafts, Strawberry Shortcake, Live Entertainment, Free Bounce Houses, Strawberry Fudge, Pony Rides, Strawberry Wine Slush Mixes, Face Painting, Hula Hoop Contest, Strawberry Ice Cream, Free Petting Zoo, Berry Cute Baby Contest, Train Rides, Free Inside Toddler Play Area, Sack Races, Free Bean Bag Toss, Organic Strawberries, Yummy Treats & Much More! Adults & Kids $ 7, Children 2 & under Free. Discount Admission online or with a canned good. Benefits the Local Food Bank.
Directions: 2497 SR 16 W, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043. From I-95 exit 318 – SR 16 W, (go past US 17). From I-295 exit 10, take US 17 S to C.R. 315, go 4 miles to SR 16 turn right. (Located South of Jacksonville, West of St.Augustine)
Contact: (386) 860-0092 wwwClayCountyFest.com [email protected]
Bradford County Strawberry Festival – April 8-9, 2017
The Bradford County Strawberry Festival takes place in Starke Florida, an hour south of Jacksonville, each year and offers live music, arts & crafts, a kid zone and of course, strawberries.
Directions: 100 East Call Street, Starke, FL 32091. Take I-10 West to 301 South. Follow 301 South into downtown Starke.
Contact: 904.964.5278 || Facebook
Plant City Florida Strawberry Festival – March 2-12, 2017
The Plant City Florida Strawberry Festival is ranked one of the best by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions. Located on the west coast of Florida, this festival is approximately 3 hours away from Jacksonville, but makes for a fun weekend getaway with the family. The festival offers live music, arts and crafts, fair food and many strawberry shortcake booths.
Directions: 2202 W. Reynolds Street, Plant City, FL 33564. Plant City is located off of I-4, between Lakeland and Tampa.
Contact: 813.752.9194 || Facebook
Barberville Strawberry Fest – March 18-19, 2017
The Barberville Strawberry Festival (formerly the Deland Strawberry Fest) is held at the Barberville Pioneer Settlement, 2 hours south of Jacksonville. Family fun, delicious food, free bounce houses, art & crafts, live entertainment, classic car show, pony rides, petting zoo, strawberry shortcake, kid zone & much more.
Directions: 1776 Lightfoot Lane, Barberville, FL 32105. Take I-95 South to exit State Road 40 to Barberville.
Contact: (386) 860-0092