U-Pick Strawberries, Mid-July 2020!
In Season Mid July – Mid August
U-Pick Measures in place for COVID-19
We ask that you please:
- Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19
- Keep 2m between you, other guests and staff
- Do not consume any food on site (no picnics, no sampling of fruit)
- Do not gather or loiter anywhere on the farm
- U-pickers limited to 2 people per reservation
- Children are welcome but must be closely supervised: Parent to Child Ratio Required is one to one
- Wash your hands before and after your visit
- Avoid touching things unnecessarily anywhere on the farm
- Plan on using a card and the tap option on our debit/credit terminals
- Do not bring your own pails – we will provide new pails for you
- No public washrooms at this time
- Entry fee to the farm is $8 per person. Toddlers ages 2 and under are free
Reserve your Strawberry Picking 2020
In order to disperse crowds, only people who have reserved online will be permitted to pick their own strawberries. The measures currently in place by the government do not allow farms to open their petting zoos or picnic areas. Therefore, visits to the farm are solely for the purpose of pick-your-own. To book your visit, you select the number of people (Max two) and the number of baskets (Max 2) you want. You will also need to select an arrival time, in 15-minute intervals from 10am – 2pm allowing a maximum of 10 people to arrive every 15 minutes.
Since we expect to start picking strawberries around July 11, the booking calendar will only appear beginning on July 7. In order to control the picking request, and the number of strawberries available in the fields, we will open the booking calendar only 3 days in advance, each day.
The number of pails of ripe strawberries that may be available on a day in the future is an inexact science. The ripening of the berries is very much dependent on Mother Nature! Strawberries ripen faster on sunny days and slower on cloudy days! Also, the number of ripe berries in a row reflects how the u-pickers picked the berries in the row last week. Did they only pick the ripe ones, or did they pick all of the half ripe ones, too.
Please understand that we as the farmers are doing the best we can under the circumstances.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
DO YOU HAVE STRAWBERRIES READY TO PICK NOW?
- Our strawberry crop is late this year because of all the rainy weather. We anticipate that our strawberry picking season will last from July 15th until the end of August. We just might have some the first week of September!!! We grow 5 different kinds of strawberries for our u-pick – Kent, Honeyoe, Cabot, Valley Sunset, and Albion – which is why we have such a long season!
DO I NEED TO MAKE A RESERVATION?
- Yes, you will need to make a reservation to pick strawberries this year.
IF MORE THAN 2 PEOPLE IN MY FAMILY WANT TO PICK STRAWBERRIES, HOW CAN WE DO THAT?
- You will need to make multiple reservations, with a maximum of 2 people per reservation. For every child there needs to be one accompanying adult.
IF I HAVE MORE THAN ONE CHILD CAN I STILL COME?
- Yes! You simply need to make multiple reservations. You may also need to bring additional adult family members or friends as we require 1 adult to every child that comes.
IF TWO PARENTS WANT TO BRING ONE CHILD, CAN THEY?
- Yes, you will simply need to make 2 reservations – one for the first parent and the child and one for the second parent.
CAN I BRING MY DOG TO UPICK STRAWBERRIES?
- Thank you for asking! Please leave your pets at home. They will not be allowed into the farm and it is too hot to leave them in your vehicle.
WHEN CAN I MAKE MY RESERVATION?
- The earliest you can make your reservation is 3 days in advance of the day you’d like to pick. For example, if you wanted to pick strawberries on August 5th, the earliest day you could reserve a time would be August 2nd. The earliest you can reserve a upick time will be July 7th.
WHAT ELSE CAN WE PICK AT THE FARM?
- What’s in season varies! We have the following veggies growing in the field for u-pick: peas, beans, kale, lettuce, potatoes, zucchini, sorrel, and herbs. We will also have vegetables like tomatoes available to buy on the farm (but they will be pre-picked).
HOW MUCH IS A BUCKET OF STRAWBERRIES?
- A level 4L pail of strawberries is $30.00. A heaping 4L pail is $35.00.
WILL THERE BE AN ADMISSION? HOW MUCH PER PERSON?
- Yes, there will be an admission. It will include access to the strawberry field as well as a private “bubble tour” on the main farm. Admission is $7.65 + GST per person, ages 3 and up.
WHAT IS A “BUBBLE TOUR”?
- It is a private tour for your family cohort of up to a maximum of 15 people.
WHAT HAPPENS IF ITS A RAINY DAY?
- Dress for the weather and come pick some strawberries! We do not charge a cancellation fee, but you will need to re-book your new picking time.
DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK?
- Yes, wearing a mask while in the u-pick fields is mandatory. If you do not have a mask, we will have disposable masks for sale as a 3-pack for $5, which you will be required to buy. Masks will be available in both adult and child sizes.
IF I COME TO THE FARM WITHOUT A RESERVATION, CAN I STILL PICK STRAWBERRIES?
- We are expecting our reservations to be fully booked. If there is a cancellation on the day you arrive, you may be able to pick strawberries. If there are no cancellations, you will not be able to pick, as we need to limit the number of people in the field because of Covid-19.
Sundrenched Alberta strawberries fresh from the farm. The berries are so sweet! Off to a slow start – picking season will run late – from July 27 to August 24 this year!
- Pick Your Own Strawberries from mid-July to early August at Prairie Gardens
- Season is on time this year – we expect ripe strawberries by Mid July which will run to Mid August.
- Ripe strawberries are available on a first come first pick basis
- We also have other veggies for U-Pick in August (Peas, Swiss Chard, Kale, Herbs) a little later in the season
- Pumpkins in September & October
- The U-Pick Strawberry Patch charges a $5 per person admission, which includes a wagon ride, and free 4 L pails to pick into plus wrist band for adventures back at the Prairie Gardens homestead site. (the patch is offsite – 1 km north) You pay for what you pick. The U-pick Berry Price is $20 for 4 L and $15 / 1.5 L
- Sign up for the Prairie Gardens E-newsletter to be notified when the strawberries are ready for pickin’!
Never Been to a U-Pick Strawberry Patch? It’s Summertime Fun!
Here’s how it works! It takes about three days for a half-ripe berry to turn red. Usually, we have folks out picking on Saturday, which means that ripe berries are ready to pick again by Wednesday (U-pick starts at 10am, on a first come basis), however, if there are yet more ripe berries, we continue picking. If it rains, there are ripe berries ready by the next sunny day. A little hard to plan for, but that’s nature for you!
The “King” Berries are the first and largest of the season. Pick-Your-Own starts for them about the 15th of July. They are the first berry of the berry cluster, and are available for the first week.
“Main-Season” Alberta U-Pick Strawberries in the Edmonton region are ripe for the picking the week of July 22nd. The berries are sweet, juicy and dripping with sun-ripened flavor. Main season picking runs for about a week to 10 days, until the end of July.
The “Fairy” Berries are the sweetest (and the smallest) of the season. They’re usually ready for the beginning of August, but the hot weather changed everything! Celebrate the end of the strawberry season with us at our on-farm Fairy Berry Festival the August long weekend.
We grow lovely garden Peas – snap or shelling; Baby Potatoes: Red Norland, Colomba and Santina Gold, (U-dig) or find at our Farmer Market on Sundays from 12pm – 6pm starting mid-July. Heirloom Tomatoes, Garden Greens and Zucchini Squash are ready at the beginning of July!
Here’s what we’ve got planted in the gardens: Vegetable Season starts in late July – You can U-pick peas or beans or squash, or find our produce fresh picked at our Farmer Market 12-6 on Sundays!
- Summer Squash Scallopini, Cousa (Lebanese Zuchini)
- Peas – Edible Pod and Shelling
- Green, Purple and Yellow Wax Beans
- Zuchini, Green, Gold and Striped
- Beets, Carrots, and Onions available at our farm market (not u-pick)
- Sweet Corn – Please call ahead to order by the 50 cob sack! (Not u-pick)
- Kale – Blue Ridge, Russian Red, and Redbor,
- Fresh Dill, Parsley, and all kinds of Fresh Herbs (not U-pick available at the farm market on Sundays 12-6
- Swiss Chard – Red Rhubarb, Bright Lights
- Edible Flowers – Begonia, Pansy, Calendula, Bachelor Button, Viola, Marigold
Sweet Corn on the Cob is like garden candy! We’re growing it at the homestead farm, and will have ready picked corn ready for our Corn Fest weekend! Our sweet corn is usually ready to harvest around the last week of August. We grow six different varieties, from Extra Early Super-sweets, to Peaches and Cream. We sell it by the cob or by the sack.
Taber may be famous for it’s corn production in Alberta, but fresh sweet corn is absolutely the sweetest when it is fresh picked. The sugars within the kernels convert to starch very quickly (by 50% every 24 hours).
The six different varieties we grow start to ripen by late August and continue until the first killing frost –usually around mid September. Please give us a call at 780.921.2272 to order it by the sack for corn roasts or parties. The long weekend in September we celebrate the harvest with the Prairie Garden’s Corn Fest! We also grow baby corn!
And Corn Mazes! Look up! Way up! It’s the Maze Corn – which grows quickly nearly 15 cm a week to a towering height of over 3 meters tall – and is ready to get lost in by the August long weekend. We grow over 7 acres of maze, with 5 km of trails in it. Each year, Precision Mazes, from Kansas City, Missouri, creates a brand new GPS design for our Great Prairie Corn Maze, full of twists, turns and surprises! Even after the frosts, the maze corn stands tall until the end of October, and becomes part of the fun at the Haunted Pumpkin Festival.
We grow over 40 varieties of pumpkins in a huge 7 acre field, then hand pick them and bring them indoors into our greenhouse pavilions when the nightime temperatures start to drop below freezing. We’re famous for Blue Pumpkins, Striped Pumpkins, Warty Pumpkins, Pie Pumpkins, and Big Bruisers for Jack-o’Lanterns!
White pumpkins are excellent this season, as the hot summer days are just what the pumpkins needed to mature! We grow Baby Boo (mini) Casperita, Casper, and Cotton Candy white pumpkins. Our favorite is called “One too Many” as you can never have one too many of this one. It’s white with an orange spider web over the top!
Come pick out a pumpkin weekends at our Haunted Pumpkin Fest! On weekdays, come and choose a pumpkin from our indoor pumpkin patches is between 2:30 and 4:30, when we have staff available to assist you! On the weekends, admission is refunded if you stay less than 1/2 hour to purchase your pumpkin.
We grow all of our own pumpkins in the Edmonton, Alberta, countryside.
The prices range from $1.50 for Jack-Be-Littles, to $3 for Pie Pumpkins to $25 for Jack O’Lanterns.
CHOOSING A PUMPKIN, STORAGE AND CARVING TIPS
We grow a wide variety of squash including green or gold Zucchini, Vegetable Marrow, Scallopini, Lebanese Zucchini, Vegetable Spagetti, Hubbard, Acorn, and Stripetti squash.
They can be cooked in a number of ways. We love to sautee slices of them with butter, garlic, and herbs. You can also stuff them with a mixture of cooked hamburger, rice, and tomatoes.