Editor's note: The print version of this story contain incorrect hours of operation for Thunderbird Berry Farm. The story has been corrected.
It’s still a couple of weeks until the blueberries at Endicott Farm in Mounds will be ripe enough for harvesting. But Betsy Endicott is already fielding calls from people eager to get out into the fields.
“This year, it seems like there is a larger than usual interest from people,” said Betsy Endicott. “We’re hearing the same thing from other farmers in the area.
“I think part of it is that, what with all the social distancing and things being shut down, people are just anxious to get outdoors, and they’re looking for something to do in a relatively safe environment,” she said. “And I think there’s been a real shift among people to get their produce and other foods from local sources, rather than just whatever shows up at a grocery store.”
Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of berry-picking season, with a number of farms in the area opening their gates to allow visitors to pick their own blueberries and blackberries.
The strawberry season began weeks earlier, and Joe’s Farm in Bixby, which is known for its organically grown strawberries, has been inundated with prospective pickers.
“You would not believe how busy it’s been around here,” said Cindy Abeck, an employee at the farm.
Because of the interest, as well as out of concerns about the spread of coronavirus, those wishing to harvest their own strawberries from Joe’s Farm need to reserve specific times.
“If people just show up and want to pick strawberries, we’re going to have to turn them away and have them reserve a time,” Abeck said. “Of course, they can shop at our market, where we have lettuces, radishes, onions, beets and lots of other things.”
Abeck said it’s likely that the farm will have strawberries last through the end of May. Joe’s Farm will be offering pick-your-own zinnias in June, and later this year plans to allow visitors to pick their own sweet potatoes.
Those looking for something a bit out of the ordinary to harvest themselves might consider a trip out to Osage County.
The Lodge at Taylor Ranch may be best known for its disc golf courses, camping facilities and wilderness trails, but the resort also offers pick-your-own blackberries and sand plums.
Sand plums, also known as Chickasha or Cherokee plums, “are a little bit smaller than the plums people are used to,” said Leah Jenkins, whose family owns The Lodge at Taylor Ranch. “They’re really sweet — we like to make jelly with them.”
Jenkins said the sand plums will likely be ready by mid-June, while the blackberries should be ripe for harvest closer to the first of July.
The hard freeze that hit northeastern Oklahoma in April negatively affected most blackberry farmers.
“We’ll have blackberries,” Endicott said. “We’re just not going to have as much as we have had in other years.”
John Firey of Rock Creek Farms in Sand Springs said he’s not offering you-pick services this year because of the damage done to his crop.
“We think we’re going to have enough to be able to sell pre-picked quarts of berries,” he said.
CABIN CREEK BERRIES
Opens: Second week in June
35401 S. 4405 Road, Big Cabin
Hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Call for availability.
Opens: Mid-June through mid-July
13822 S. Oklahoma 10, Gore
Hours: 7 a.m. to noon Thursday-Saturday, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday.
CANYON BERRY FARMS
Opens: First week of June
20126 S. Dickerson Drive, Claremore
Hours: 7 a.m. to noon Tuesday-Saturday depending on availability.
Opens: First or second week of June
211th St. South, Mounds (between Lewis and Harvard avenues south of Tulsa)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Reservations needed for Saturday.
12811 S. Sheridan Road, Bixby
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Call for availability.
MEADOW BLACKBERRY FARM
Opens: Second week of June
3200 Westgreen Way, Sapulpa
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call for availability.
Blueberries, blackberries, asparagus and bulk produce
Opens: First or second week of June
4163 E. 470 Road, Pryor
Hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Call for availability.
OWASSO CHRISTMAS TREE AND BERRY FARM
Opens: Blueberries should be ready by June 6, blackberries by June 13. Call for availability.
11039 N. 129th East Ave., Owasso
Hours: 7 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays
ROCK CREEK FARMS
Only offering pre-picked quarts of blackberries for sale. Call for availability.
20412 W. 61st St. South, Sand Springs
THE LODGE AT TAYLOR RANCH
Sand plums, blackberries
22005 Oklahoma 99, Pawhuska.
Hours: Open Monday-Sunday. Call for availability.
THUNDERBIRD BERRY FARM
Opens: Memorial Day
South 321st East Ave., Broken Arrow (between 71st and 81st streets)
Hours: By appointment only, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays; to reserve a time: thunderbirdberry.com
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