by Savannah Vasquez
You-pick produce farms are few and far between in Northwest Florida, but here on the Panhandle we do have the cream of the crop in the form of strawberry farm, Akers of Strawberries in Baker.
I was so excited when I heard that I could pick strawberries close to home, that I invited all my friends to come along with me.
We arrived at the farm around 11 a.m. with no idea what to expect. I saw families out in the fields picking, and others arriving with pails in their hands, and suddenly I got nervous that we had come all the way out to Baker without a container to use to gather berries. Thankfully, my fear was short-lived, as the farm has tons of perfectly sized cardboard boxes for pickers to use.
We learned first-hand that flip-flops are not the best shoe choice for berry picking, as you will slip, slide and sink, and leave with muddy feet. My advice, make sure to bring your rain boots, even on a sunny day!
The actual picking of the berries went by very fast. We were informed before going out to the fields to only pick the fully red berries as strawberries do not ripen after picking. In fact, over-picking of unripe berries will result in the farm closing until berries ripen. We had no trouble finding ripe berries, as every row had plenty berries hanging off the vine, just begging to be picked. In less than half an hour we had picked four pounds of berries and could have kept going, I just don’t have the room to store all those delicious morsels!
After we were finished picking, the berries were weighed by the pound. Make sure to bring cash or your checkbook though, as those are the only forms of payment currently accepted. Other items available for purchase were homemade strawberry jams, Aker’s T-shirts and a few other strawberry themed souvenirs.
Once we had paid for our berries, we decided to try Aker’s famous strawberry frozen yogurt. Let me tell you it was outstanding and a welcome treat after an hour of picking in the humid Florida weather. The small café also offers fresh strawberry shortcake, strawberry sundaes or milkshakes and fountain drinks.
Don’t miss out on this delicious family fun outing, and make sure to go soon before all the ripe berries are gone!
Want to Go?
Akers of Strawberries you-pick farm is located at 1074 Melton Road in Baker. Prices are $1.50 per pound or purchase pre-picked berries at set prices. The farm is cash or check only and also excepts Florida Farmers Market Checks (SNAP). Hours are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Check online for weather closures at www.akersofstrawberries.com or find them on Facebook.