Guide to picking your own strawberries

To get the most awesome flavor in strawberries, you'll want to pick them yourself.

It’s strawberry season!

In the Heartland, you will certainly be able to load up at a local farmer’s market.

You can also pick your own.

 U-Pick Strawberry Farms

Missouri

Beggs Berry World
Location: Benton, MO, along Interstate 55, exit 80
Times: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weather permitting
Contact: 573-545-3881

Illinois

Hallsberry Farms
Location: 20 United Missionary Ln, Buncombe, IL 62912
Times: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Contact: (618) 559-6127

McLaughlin Strawberry Farm
Location: 936 McLaughlin Road, Murphysboro, IL 62966
Times: Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Contact: 618-684-4034

Blue Berry Hill Farm
Location: 675 Wrights Crossing Road, Cobden IL 62920
Times: Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Contact: 618-893-2397

The owner Mark Daniel of Mark’s Melon Patch walks us through the easy 4-step process of picking out the succulent fruity delights.

Step 1: Hygiene first

Wash your hands before you scavenge through the U-pick strawberry field. It will keep your selection uncontaminated and will most importantly prevent germs from spreading for the customers behind you.

Step 2: Grab a bucket and get to work

“To get the most awesome flavor you want to come pick it yourself.”

It may take a bit more work, but Mark advises you get into the field and pick the berries at their peak instead of buying prepackaged berries from the store that lack in freshness.

Step 3: Red means go!

“The redder it is, the sweeter it’ll be.”

If you see green, stay away. The strawberries won’t get any sweeter once they are picked, so go for the berries that shine like a stop light for the best taste.

Step 4: The easy part

Once your bucket is filled to the brim, it’s time to head the cash register.

From there you weigh, pay and then go home to slay your hand-picked treats.

Here’s a DELICIOUS way to enjoy this yummy summer berry.

Fresh Treat: Salted Caramel Strawberries

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