Saratoga Springs.. Oh The Places You'll Go

Strawberry Fields Forever

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I have to say, spring and summer are my two favorite seasons. Not because of the warm weather, although that factor does help, but mostly because it means so many fruits are readily available. One of my favorite memories while growing up was shrimping in the Lowcountry and then going to the nearby farm to pick some fresh strawberries. To me, nothing says summer better, then eating strawberries fresh from the fields and warm from the sun. It didn't help that strawberry picking was a regular habit in my family growing up as well. My mother was guilty of taking us strawberry picking as children. We would be on our way to who-knows-where and if she saw a sign for strawberry fields, she would easily detour the ten to twenty miles to have us four children pick the dessert we would be eating later.

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I don't know why, but it's been easily eight to ten years since I've been out in the fields getting some of my favorite fresh fruit, and between all these rainy days, I couldn't help but think about all the those times back when. To my surprise, I found there are a lot of strawberry farms here in the Capital Region, one farm which I just had to go to- Hand Melon Farm. Located right outside of Schuylerville (pronounced "Sky-ler-ville" according to the locals who corrected me rather quickly), in the town of Greenwich, this "pick your own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, and peppers when in season" farm is no more than thirty minutes from our home here in Saratoga Springs. The best part of this Hand Melon Farm is that it was open for strawberry business June 10th and are only two dollars a pound.

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Needless to say, you don't have to tell me good news twice and my family was there opening morning along with a dozen other families. It was a beautiful farm, nestled on a back road with mountains in the distance; it is a true picture perfect opportunity for scrapbooks I'll never complete. My husband, who grew up in the farming country of Ohio, had never been strawberry picking and it was humorous watching my son and husband going up and down the rows picking strawberries as fast as they could eat them. We also learned at Hand Melon farm that there are several different types of strawberries. I am no strawberry connoisseur, but found the Annapolis to be more tart and lemon-like while the Jewel was juicy and sweeter.

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By the end of our visit we had picked roughly 7.5lbs in under an hour; all of which has now been turned into jam, pastries, and other strawberry goodies. In the end, my family left with a lot of good memories, laughs, but most importantly, a lot of red, delicious strawberries. It was such a good experience, that we are actually going again soon. Like I said, I love strawberry picking and like my mother, I see myself detouring those ten to twenty miles making my kids work for their dessert. Some people hate becoming their parents, but this is one ritual I don't mind taking on.

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1.) Wear appropriate clothes and footwear. It probably doesn't hurt to wear sunscreen either. Remember, this is a real farm.
2.) If you forget to bring a basket to pick your strawberries, don't worry. They provide flats or quart size containers.
3.) Don't forget to stop at their country store on Route 29 for other goodies. I picked up a strawberry cookbook which came in handy.
4.) Don't forget to take cash. They also accept checks.
5.) Be sure to ask about the different styles of strawberries! The staff there is beyond friendly and helpful pointing out the best spots to pick strawberries!
6.) Hand Melon Farm is open Monday-Friday 9am-6pm, and Saturday-Sunday 9am-5pm.
7.) If you have children, bring a camera. You'll get a kick out of taking pictures of your little one covered in strawberry juice.



Great blog, I really dig your writing style that you are using for your posts and stuff, really hollywood...

Danielle Berry, we did enjoy your blog on Straw Berrys...sorry we couldn't resist. In any case we here in Florida might put our large red beauties grown here in Plant City up against all comers but that's the extent of our really excellent offerings from the sunshine state with one notable exception of course, THE Orange.

With Hand melons, locally grown corn (BJ's?), vegetable stands with young asparagus overflowing the counters and of course a great farmers market, being a vegan, at least for several weeks, is a real option. But then there are those new potatoes and a crisp green salad alongside that juicy steak. Decisions, decisions...


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Danielle Berry

Originally from the South Carolina Lowcountry, Danielle Berry is a southern girl through and through. Born into an Air Force family with three other siblings, her life included moving every four to five years up and down the East Coast. Although saying goodbye was never easy with every move, a new town always meant more friends and unfamiliar, yet exciting, things to do. Eventually her parents settled in the small town of Beaufort, South Carolina; a quaint coastal town between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. There, she found the porches were long, but the conversations were always longer.

A Converse College alumna, she met her husband, Jared, on a reluctant blind date her freshman year. Married in 2007, she followed him to Southeast Georgia where she was hired as an interior decorator and project manager for James Michael Howard. In 2009, they welcomed their first son, Michael, and she became a full time stay-at-home mom.

This past January, she followed her husband to Saratoga Springs. Although the porches aren’t as long, she has found that the conversations with the locals are. With an overwhelming amount of experiences awaiting, she is excited to be given another opportunity in a new town, with new friends, and new adventures.