Early summer means strawberries, and Champaign-Urbana friends are in luck: we’ve dug up several places within roughly an hour’s drive to pick your own strawberries. The season is short, so if you blink you might miss it.
To be sure that there are berries ripe for the picking, we recommend that you call ahead before you go to any farm (some also put up information on their Facebook pages and/or websites).
Oh, and a few other tips:
1) Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen; sunglasses and hats are also helpful. Remember, there is no shade while berry picking.
2) Where there is fruit there is often bugs. Go early as possible; be prepared to do sunscreen and bug repellent.
3) We recommend that you bring cash to pay for berries.
4) Watch the weather. You don’t want to be picking with any threats of lightning.
5) Remember, berry season is short!
U Pick Strawberry Locations Near Champaign-Urbana (organized by distance)
Mulberry Lane Farm, Loda
We have an o*l*d* story about strawberry picking in Loda, and evidently it holds up well: Mulberry Lane Farm is open for you pick strawberry picking once again. Claim to fame: “We are proud to be the only organic strawberry farm in Illinois!”
Location: About 45 minutes from Champaign-Urbana, depending on where you live. Easy drive up I-57, exit at Paxton, go north on Route 45. Here’s the map.
Notes: Open Monday thru Sunday, 8 am – 8 pm until the first week of June or so. Prices for U Pick Strawberries are $2.99 per pound, with a 5-pound minimum per person over 12 years old.
Phone: People are advised to call before coming out to u pick, to check on picking conditions. 217-386-2690
Strawberry Acres, Danville
This locally owned family farm has the earliest of the area strawberry farm seasons. Strawberries were ready to be picked as early as May 6 and continue to be available.
Location: Northeast Danville. Address: 515 Poland Rd, Danville (1 hour from Southwest Champaign)
Notes: Closed on Sundays. Only takes cash. Posts regular updates on its Facebook page. Has other crops all season long, including pumpkins in the fall.
Phone: (217) 443-3027
Braffet Berry Farm, Carlock
The season at Braffet generally starts right before Memorial Day and lasts about four weeks.
Location: Carlock, Illinois, which is northwest of Bloomington-Normal (on the way to Peoria). (1 hour, 5 minutes from Southwest Champaign). Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/sbLUZzVqcpC2
Notes: Open 7 days a week during picking season. Only takes cash or checks. Posts regular updates on its Facebook page.
Jeffries Orchard, Springfield
Our family went to Jeffries Orchard in Springfield last summer, and you can read all about this no-frills experience on the website. Typically opens for u pick in mid-May, but posted on its Facebook page that the 2017 season may be later than usual due to cooler temperatures. They have a roadside stand and sell produce all summer long.
Location: A great advantage for this place: it is close to Springfield and therefore close to other attractions, food, etc. About 75 minutes from southwest Champaign.
Notes: Open 7 days a week. Takes credit cards. Posts regular updates on its Facebook page. Also has blueberry and peaches on site, but season is much later in the summer.
Just Berries, Stewardson, Illinois
Typically opens for u pick in mid-May, but posted on its website that the 2017 season may be later than usual due to cooler temperatures. Strawberry season usually lasts about a month.
Location: About 75 minutes from southwest Champaign, straight south between Mattoon and Effingham.
Notes: Open 7 days a week during picking season. Posts regular updates on its Facebook page. Also has blueberries and blackberries on site, but season is much later in the summer.
Did we miss your favorite strawberry u pick?