The best strawberries come from U-pick farms. At least they taste that way, a literal example of the whole fruits-of-your-labor thing. This spring's unseasonably cool and wet weather might suggest otherwise, but strawberry season will soon be upon us, and June is best celebrated at the U-pick farms surrounding the Twin Cities.
As promised in the 2011 Taste 50, here's a list of pick-your-own farms located within a short drive -- or, in some cases, a daytrip -- from the metro area.
One important tip: Be sure to call ahead for hours, directions, payment details and strawberry availability.
Anoka: Berry Hill Farm, 6510 185th Av. N.W., 763-753-5891
Champlin: Bauer Berry Farm, 10830 French Lake Rd., 763-421-4384
Clear Lake: Grayson’s Berryland, 6705 Country Rd. 8 SE., 320-743-3384
Delano: Apple Jack Orchards, 4875 37th St. SE., 763-972-6673
Elk River: Becks Elk River Greenhouse & Vegetable Farm, 15362 190th Av., 763-263-2631
Faribault: Straight River Farm, 3733 220th St. E., 507-334-2226
Forest Lake: The Berry Patch, 19221 Keystone Av. N., 651-433-3448
Hastings: Afton Apple Orchard, 14421 S. 90th St., 651-436-8385
Hastings: Sam Kedem Nursery Garden, 12414 191st St. E., 651-437-7516
Hastings: Wyatt’s Strawberries, 10370 180 St. E., 651- 437-8479
Hinckley: Ben's Berry Farm, 34921 Two Rivers Rd., 320-384-7232
Lakeville: Applewood Orchard, 22702 Hamburg Av., 952-985-5425
Marine on St. Croix: Natura Farms, 19060 Manning Trail N., 651-433-5850
Monticello: The Strawberry Basket, 12591 Aetna Ave NE., 763-878-2875
Northfield: Lorence’s Berry Farm, 28625 Foliage Av., 507-645-9749
Northfield: Silkey Gardens, E. 115th St., 507-645-4158
Rochester: Firefly Berries, 5542 23rd St. NE., 507-252-1309
St. Joseph: A&G Produce, 10448 345 St., 320-290-0907
Shafer: Pleasant Valley Orchard, 17325 Pleasant Valley Rd., 651-257-9159
South Haven: Fairhaven Farm, 13835 51st Av., 320-236-7685
Waconia: Klingelhutz Farm, 7940 Airport Rd., 952-442-2515
White Bear Lake: Pine Tree Apple Orchard, 450 Apple Orchard Rd., 651-429-7202
Eau Claire: Appledore Woods, W3865 Cty. Rd. HH, 715-834-5697
Glenwood City: Green Hill Farm, 3234 140th Av., 715-265-4004
Osceola: Demulling Farms, 466 240th St., 715-294-3742
Do you have a favorite strawberry U-pick farm that's not listed here? Add it in the comments section.