GAYS MILLS - A beautiful June in Crawford County brings beautiful bright red strawberries for area residents.
The strawberry season is in full swing in the area, with black raspberries and black caps not far behind.
Hillcrest Orchard Manager Terre VanHarren couldn’t be happier with this year’s crop of berries.
“Everything is going really, really, good,” VanHarren said, “It’s a beautiful season and the weather is just about perfect.”
The area saw a bit of a dry start to June, but with last week’s generous downpours and hot sun the berries seem to be ripening right along.
“This year we have a whole new section that has never been picked before,” VanHarren noted. “The berries are super big since this is the first year they’ve been picked. We expect to be picking right through the whole month of June, if not into July as well.”
Hillcrest Orchard offers both pick your own and pre-picked options at the orchard.
“We try to have berries on hand for people who are driving by or want to make a spur-of-the-minute stop, but it’s always best to call ahead and order if you want them pre-picked,” VanHarren said.
Hillcrest Orchard is located at 16602 US Highway 61 on the corner of Highway 171 and 61 outside of Gays Mills, right next to McCormicks Bar and Grill in Rolling Ground. Call 608-624-5762 to place orders or to check on picking conditions.
Located near Ferryville is Mary’s Berries, a family owned and operation for over 30 years. Mary’s Berries raises their berries organically using organic methods all along the way.
Mary Heath also reported her berries are looking mighty fine this year.
“Everything was pretty dry for a little bit, but we got a really nice downpour and that helped a lot,” Heath reported. “We planted about 2,000 new plants this year and we were running a bucket brigade to keep them watered and healthy, but they’re looking great now after the rain.”
Mary’s Berries also offers both pick your own and pre-picked berry options at their family-run operation, which Mary runs with her daughter Liz Leirmo.
The operation was formerly located on Sugar Creek Road at the family farm for approximately 30 years, but moved to its current location on County B about six years ago.
“We’re continually learning every day,” Mary said of her experience as a berry farmer.
Picking begins at 10 a.m. and continues to right around dark at Mary’s Berries. Mary also noted that calling ahead to check on picking conditions and availability is encouraged.
You can reach Mary’s Berries at 608-792-4344 or check their Facebook page for updates. Mary’s Berries is located at 57237 County Trunk B, Ferryville Wisconsin.
Turkey Ridge Organic Orchard is also finding itself with beautiful organic berries to offer the public.
“We’ve been picking and picking every day and there are still more berries,” noted orchard owner Faye Welsh with a laugh. “It seems like we’ve eaten nothing but strawberries for the past week!”
The organic orchard offers pick your own or pre-picked certified organic strawberries from their patch. There is also a 50/50 split option available, where consumers can split what they pick with the orchard.
Picking is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can message the orchard on their Facebook page or call 608-735-4660 to check on the status of the berries.
Turkey Ridge Orchard is located at 50350 Turkey Ridge Road, Gays Mills.
The weather is also cooperating for West Ridge Orchard this year and their berry patch.
“So far, so good,” was how Gaylon O’Neil described the berry season this year. “Over all the berries are looking pretty decent!”
West Ridge Orchard is offering pick-your-own strawberries currently, and calling ahead to check the status of the picking and berries is encouraged.
“We’re hoping to be picking for a bit longer yet,” O’Neil said. “It’s very weather dependent, strawberries can be a finicky plant. But if the weather holds out, things should keep going good.”
West Ridge Orchard is located at 52132 State Highway 171, Gays Mills. You can reach them by calling 608-735-4299.