Warm, summer days on Whidbey mean berry patches are waiting to be picked clean of sweet succulent treats.
Several u-pick berry patches scattered throughout the island are up and running and people are rushing to pick the ripest and freshest strawberries and raspberries on Whidbey Island.
“We’ve had lots of nice sunshine and that’s what makes the strawberries nice and sweet,” said Dorothy Mueller, owner of Bell’s Farm located off West Beach Road between Oak Harbor and Coupeville.
Bell’s Farm strawberries were ripe enough to pick about 10 days ago. Mueller said that, depending on the weather, people will be picking strawberries for about four weeks.
The farm, also known for its honesty stand, isn’t the only place on Whidbey Island to go into a field to gather some farm-fresh berries.
Mile Post 19 Farm, located at the edge of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve near Outlying Field, is just days away from opening its raspberry field to the public. Owner Jerry Jaderholm said the u-pick is the funnest part of his farm business.
He is selling raspberries out of his store that he opened Wednesday. His staff, comprised of students at Coupeville High School, had combed the bushes to find the ripest of the bunch. Jaderholm said he wants the remaining raspberries to ripen a bit more before opening the u-pick fields to the public.
“You want the berries to be easy to pick,” Jaderholm said. To find out when his field will be open to the public, go to the farm’s website at www.milepost19farm.com or its Facebook page.
A different type of u-pick operation is thriving on Central Whidbey Island as well. Lavender Wind Farm, located on Darst Road about a block away from Bells Farm, allows people to pick its sweet-scented lavender that is blooming this month.
“People love being out in the lavender field,” Lavender Wind Farm owner Sarah Richards said. She said people can pick lavender until it’s harvested, which is usually complete by the end of August.
In addition to the Central Whidbey u-pick, strawberries and raspberries are also available on North Whidbey Island. Dugualla Bay Farm, located off Highway 20 between Oak Harbor and Deception Pass State Park, has berry fields that are open to the public. Strawberries were ripe in mid-June and raspberries should be ready next week, said Dugualla Bay Farm Manager Shari Meagher. People can also purchase loganberries, marionberries and tayberries from the farm’s shop.
The u-pick fields are scattered throughout Whidbey Island and provide a family with a reasonable way to have an adventure and a healthy snack at the same time.