Spring is a glorious time here in Central Texas. Some years, it can be fleeting, but it is a wonderful time of year, all the same. We gleefully shed our jackets, our sweaters and our mittens and ease into our shorts, flip flops and t-shirts.
Before it gets too hot, it’s great to plan those outdoor excursions, since it won’t be long before we’ll be pining for pools and splash pads. One of the great day trips you can take during the springtime is to pick strawberries at Sweet Berry Farm.
Sweet Berry Farm is located in Marble Falls, which is about 50 minutes northwest of Austin. During the spring, the farm primarily grows strawberries, but also offers blackberries, and for the first time this year, peaches. During the fall, Sweet Berry transforms into a pumpkin patch. Both in the springtime and in the fall, you can visit the farm to feed the resident goats, pet the horses and donkey, jump on The Berry Bounce (a huge inflatable pillow) and try out homemade ice cream, smoothies and popsicles. During the spring, your child can make sand art and have his or her face painted on weekends. On Saturdays, Sundays and special occasions, the Sweet Berry Express barrel train will be running. One thing you can’t do at Sweet Berry is to bring pets, so you’ll need to leave your furry friends at home.
Spring hours for Sweet Berry are:
8:30am – 5:30 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
1:00pm – 5:00pm on Sundays
The harvest schedule is:
Strawberries – from early April to mid-May
Blackberries – mid-May
New potatoes – May
Peaches – May
Onions – late April and May
The best place to stay up-to-date on what’s happening on the Farm is the Fresh News page.
If you have a preschooler and can go during the week, that is ideal since weekends can get crowded, particularly when the weather is nice out. If you do go on a weekend, get there as early as possible (this is one case where having early riser is a good thing!) Most visitors arrive between 10:30am and 1pm, so you’ll get a head start if you can make it there earlier.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll be able to fill up your basket — and how many green strawberries small hands will find to put into your basket. The strawberries cost $2.85 per pound and the picking boxes cost 50 cents each (which can hold up to 8 pounds of berries). Keep in mind that you’ll need to eat what you pick quickly, since strawberries don’t have a long shelf life.
As you might expect, most visitors start picking berries on the rows close to the parking lot. If you can convince your crew to start the furthest away and work your way back to the parking lot, you’ll have your best pick of berries (literally!) In case you were wondering, the farm is not organic. The only pick your own farm I have found with organic berries (blackberries and blueberries) nearby is Chickamaw Farm in McDade.
A few times after our visits to Sweet Berry, we have tried our luck at the Blue Bonnet Cafe, which has its famous pie happy hours from Monday through Friday, 3-5pm. Many times when we have visited on the weekend, the line to the Blue Bonnet was out the door, so we have had to satisfy our cravings elsewhere.
When you visit, you’ll want to bring:
- cash or checks (ATM machines are available)
- a picnic, if you plan to stay through a mealtime (shaded picnic tables are available); the Pumpkin Grille is open on weekends during the spring and sells hot dogs, grilled corn and PB & J sandwiches
- comfortable clothing
- closed-toed shoes that are OK to get muddy, since it can get a little wet in parts of the farm at times (some folks wear rainboots or bring an extra pair)
- mosquito repellent
- sunglasses or hats to protect your skin and eyes
- your Sweet Berry Farm basket, if you have visited in the past (outside containers are not allowed)
You’ll be shocked at how many berries won’t survive the car trip home!
Have you been to Sweet Berry Farms to pick your own strawberries? Do you have any tips to share?