Most people associate some kind of food with summer. For many it’s hot dogs or ham burgers on the outdoor grill. For some it’s corn on the cob. But others know that the best fruits for summer are exactly that. One of the true joys of the summer is that it’s the time of year when it’s easiest to get the freshest and most local fruits. If you’re living or visiting in or around Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom there’s still time to go to Chandler Pond Farm in Lyndonville and pick your own strawberries.
Chandler Pond Farm is an organic farm and a local favorite for many in the surrounding towns. They sell a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as organic eggs, chicken and even fresh flowers. Everything they sell is grown, raised and harvested with wonderful care and is all the more enjoyable for it. Most will encounter their goods at the Farmer’s Markets held in St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville. However the experience of going to the farm, getting into the fields, getting down amongst the produce and actually picking your own strawberries is one that should not be missed.
The strawberries themselves couldn’t be better. While not all are huge all are succulent and sweetly delicious. You’ll want to be sure to try one fresh off the vine to get to experience it warm from the sun. The setting is beautiful and just remote enough to be extremely peaceful. The strawberries come off the vine extremely easily and there’s a fun almost scavenger hunt like quality to moving the leaves aside to find the ripe ones. This makes it a great little outing for families as it is not overly taxing yet still wonderfully rewarding.
Like any good farm it’s a little bit off the beaten path, on a dirt road a minor drive away from exit 23 off I-91. Thankfully not so much so that it’s difficult to get there. And besides the drive is so lovely it’s hard to get annoyed by the extra time it takes once to arrive you’re off the highway. The staff is pleasant and very helpful towards first timers, patiently and clearly explaining the best way to go about picking strawberries. The fields are divided into rows and visitors can fill up quarts or large bowls as they go down the row, picking the ripened berries and leaving anything with a white tip behind to be harvested later by somebody else. The strawberry fields are part of a much larger field which contains many other forms of produce (though only the strawberries are “pick your own.”) This means that the rows where the picking is done are just far enough away from the woods and trees that visitors won’t be swarmed by the local flies.
As an added bonus for your picking efforts the strawberries will actually be slightly cheaper than what you’d find at the local stores. It’s not enough of a discount to be the main reason to do it but it’s a nice little added treat on top of it all. The real reason of course is the setting and the delight in tasting the freshest, sweetest strawberries you’ve ever eaten. Nothing at a chain supermarket can even come close to this. Should you not get there in the next week or so and miss the picking season don’t fret, they do it every summer.