With the beginning of April, it looks as if Middle Georgia has finally left winter behind. While the nights are still cool and dewy, the daytime temperatures have warmed pleasantly, and the skies have been blue.
At long last, it’s spring—and springtime is strawberry time in Middle Georgia!
If you’ve only ever eaten strawberries bought at the supermarket, now is the time to ditch the plastic carton and try freshly picked berries. Nothing compares to the sweet and slightly tart flavor of bright, juicy strawberries grown in our community.
If you’ve been disappointed by the lack of flavor in mass-marketed strawberries, where it always seems that the larger the strawberry, the more watery its flavor, you will be delighted by the berries grown at Elliott Farms.
Elliott Farms is a family owned and operated farm in Macon-Bibb County. They have two locations, one in Lizella and one in south Bibb County near the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.
Their Lizella location sits at the end of a long dirt road. After parking, visitors walk to the produce house to pick up as many baskets as you like. The porch is long and inviting, with an old porch swing and plenty of shade for warmer afternoons.
If you’re bringing little ones, or if you’re sensitive to the sun, it’s a good idea to wear hats and sunscreen because the strawberry fields are wide open, without shade. The strawberries themselves are grown on black-plastic wrapped raised rows, and the sun does reflect off of them in a way that you might not expect, and if your kids are having a good time, you might be out there longer than you’d think.
I love planting a garden, but honestly, it’s hard to make the time commitment to the daily watering and tending and nurturing that plants need to grow. Going to Elliott Farms to pick strawberries is the next best thing to growing them at home, and my family and I all love to make repeat visits during the season.
Between the rows of strawberry plants, the ground is grass and dirt, and it’s a good idea to wear tennis shoes or some other closed shoe, just to keep any creepy crawlies off your toes—although I’ve honestly not seen many bugs or ants in the strawberry fields at Elliott Farms. Every now and then, little ants or tiny spiders run along the beds, but they’re easy to avoid.
There are rows upon rows of strawberries, and I enjoy going all the way to the back of the fields to pick my way along the rows. I don’t suppose there is a right or wrong way to pick strawberries, although most folks probably aim not to smash the berries. (I see toddlers who wholeheartedly enjoy grabbing a fistful of berry, though, and I’m not one to judge.)
I enjoy using my thumbnail to cut my berries off their stems, then gently tossing them into the basket. I like to go for the ripest berries on each row. There’s a downside to this method, of course, which is that you must use your berries quickly. If your strawberries are going to be sitting around a few days, it’s probably best that you don’t aim to collect the ones that are bursting with ripeness.
After you fill your baskets, you walk them back up to the produce building to be weighed. Each pound of strawberries costs $3.00, a great price by all accounts. If you don’t want to pick strawberries for yourself, they generally have baskets pre-picked, ready to be bagged and bought. The pre-picked strawberries are just as delicious-looking as the ones you pick yourself, but without the fun.
While you’re buying your strawberries, you can also pick up a cup or cone of their delicious strawberry soft-serve ice cream. It’s refreshing after you’ve been out in the sun for an hour of bending and stretching over the strawberry beds.
Elliott Farms grows a wide variety of produce; you can generally purchase sweet corn, onions, and other seasonal vegetables. They also sell fresh, homegrown hamburger meat.
At their Lizella farm, after your children get to pick their own strawberries and eat ice cream, they can visit with some of the farm animals before you leave.
There’s nothing better than spending an afternoon on the farm. Elliott Farms gives Middle Georgia families the chance to experience a real, family-owned farm, where kids can pick their own strawberries, watch the livestock, and enjoy the sweet tastes of spring.
You can visit Elliott Farms on Monday through Saturday, from 10 AM to 7 PM, and on Sunday, from 10 AM to 6 PM. Their Lizella location is at 4761 Holley Road, in Lizella, Georgia, and their Macon location is at 9515 Feagin Road in Macon, Georgia. Please call them, at (478)935-8180, or check their Facebook page, Elliott Farms, before visiting, as their hours are subject to change depending on the volume of available ripe strawberries and other factors.