Yes, you can go strawberry picking (and blueberry, and raspberry) at farms near NYC in Summer 2020. Is it different this season, as states slowly re-open with COVID-19 safety measures in place? You betcha. Policies and precautions vary from place to place—appointment only, adjusted schedules and capacity, hand sanitizing stations, etc.—but you can pick berries, and in some cases, even flowers! Check business social feeds for updates, and don’t forget your masks! Read on for our Summer 2020 NYC area berry picking picks!

For Berries with a Side of Blooms: Patty’s Berries & Bunches

This 40-acre Long Island farm is filled with over 24 different types of berries throughout the summer and early fall, and picking is happening with COVID-19 precautions in place. For $7 per person, pickers gain entry to the berry patch and a quart container to fill; you can also buy pre-picked berries at the farm stand. Patty's "bunches" are flowers, which are sold pre-picked and include blossoms such as sunflowers, dahlias and zinnias. The farm also features an "Ice Cream Patch", where visitors can buy scoops of seasonal flavors like "sugar snap pea" and "blackberry sage", which are made with fresh ingredients grown on site.

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 40 mins

410 Sound Ave.
Mattituck, NY
631-298-4679
Daily, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Online: pattysberriesandbunches.org

For All Kinds and Colors of Berries: Ochs Orchard

It's strawberry picking time at Ochs Orchard. (Its website is vague on you-pick, but its Facebook page confirms picking is happening, with reminders on COVID safety policies.) All children must stay with adults at all times, no backpacks, large bags or coolers are allowed, and you may be asked to stay in your car if the field is too full. Also: don't touch anything you're not going to pick. In July and August, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are usually available for picking at this Warwick, New York farm, and you can also pick veggies, peaches and tomatoes. Flowers are for sale at the farm stand, and Ochs makes homemade ice cream from fruit grown on site for a post-pick treat.

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 30 mins

4 Ochs Ln.
Warwick, NY
845-986-1591
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Picking days can change week to week, so call ahead)
Online: www.ochsorchard.net

For Berries Now & Apples Later: Lawrence Farms Orchards

This family-owned farm in the Hudson Valley has been in the pick-your-own business for more than 30 years, and has roots going back to 1892. For summer 2020, social distancing practices are upheld, no outside bags (except for diaper bags) are allowed in the fields, and there is a zero sampling policy. Plus, lots of hand washing and sanitizing stations. Important: don't mix your varieties, as if you do, you'll be charged the price of the more expensive one—staff cannot separate them now. The farm recommends getting there early, as it's pick while supplies last; they are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily.  Admission is $5 per person, with a $2 credit towards your purchase. Note that the GPS address is 306 Frozen Ridge Rd, Newburgh, NY. 

39 Colandrea Rd. 
Newburgh, NY 
845-562-4268
Online: lawrencefarmsorchards.org

For Pesticide-Free Berries: Fishkill Farms

Fishkill Farms is doing you-pick by reservation only, Tuesday through Sunday. Reservations are booked up to seven days in advance, and there is a maximum of five people per party, which includes kids ages two and up. You get an hour to pick your fruit, which is capped at four quarts. Cost is $42. Don't be more than 15 minutes late or you lose your spot! 

Devoted to the practice of ecological farming, Fishkill says its berries are "beyond organic", which means as much as possible, they try to grow berries "spray-free." In addition to blueberries and raspberries, the farm also offers a selection of great summer herbs and vegetables. Check the farm's Facebook page for the latest news on prime picking.

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 30 mins.

9 Fishkill Farm Rd.
Hopewell JCT, NY
845-897-4377
Daily, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Online: www.fishkillfarms.com

Johnson's Corner Farm

Head to Johnson's Corner Farm in Medford, New Jersey for strawberries now, and peas, string beans, radishes and other crops later in the summer. Picking is by reservation only (tickets on sale one day in advance) and costs $5/per person for everyone two and over, with berries costing $3.49/lb. A wagon will take you out to the field, and masks and gloves are required. Johnson's Farm is open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily, and there's a farm store where you can get fresh produce and ice cream to take home. 

Distance from NYC: 2 hours

133 Church Rd. 
Medford, NJ
609-654-8643
Online: johnsonsfarm.com

For Berries and Lots More Fresh Produce: Lewin Farms

A family-run farm for four generations, Lewin Farms was the first U-pick farm on Long Island. Spanning 1,100 acres, this Suffolk County farm grows pretty much everything (including Christmas trees later in the year) but from late June through August is when it's got strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries for the picking. Beyond lots of fruit, you'll also find a concession stand on weekends for a post-pick snack. U-pick safety measures and policies can be found here; call the farm to get a pre-recorded message with picking conditions that's updated daily.

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 50 mins

812 Sound Ave.
Calverton, NY
631-929-4327
Daily, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; closed Tuesdays
Online: www.lewinfarm.com

For Berries, Veggies & a Giant Garden Gnome

Kelder's Farm is also doing pick-your-own by reservation only. You can elect to pick a quart, or four quarts, and prices range from $9 a person to $19.99. (For a limited time, sign up for a season pass and get two quarts free!) Picking slots are scheduled every 30 minutes, and picking is rain or shine, with no refunds. Face masks are required. You can book your slots here. 

You can pick almost anything you want here, including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and vegetables from asparagus to zucchini. They've been around 180 years, and also grow apples and pumpkins for all your autumnal needs. You'll also find "Chomsky", the world's largest garden gnome here. (For real, he's in the Guinness Book.) 

Distance from NYC: 2 hours

5755 Route 209
Kerhonkson, NY
845-626-7137
Online: keldersfarm.com

For Berries, Flowers and Wine: Terhune Orchards

U-pick is up and running at Terhune, with lots of social distancing policies in place. (See full details here.)Picking sessions are limited to 30 minutes, and you must buy anything you pick. There are numerous  hand-washing stations throughout the farm, and masks are required. Picking starts at 9 a.m., and it's advised you get there earlier rather than later, as "supply" does run out. Picking is $5 per person, with cost put towards fruit picked, which is $4.95. Farm open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily; picking orchard, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., until supply lasts. Check Terhune's Facebook page for the latest updates on availability. 

Terhune also has its own winery for adults to enjoy. 

Distance from NYC: 1 hour

330 Cold Soil Rd.
Princeton, NJ
609-924-2310
Online: terhuneorchards.com

—Ilyssa Smith

feature image: Johnson’s Corner Farm 

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