May Brings Perfect Berries to the Outer Banks
For about as long as anyone can remember there has been a strawberry patch just on the other side of the Wright Brothers Bridge. That’s Point Harbor for anyone studying a map.
It’s a U-Pick ‘em patch and the berries seem to be as good as they have ever been this year—sweet, bursting with juice with just a touch of tartness in the flavors.
Mr. and Mrs. Malco have been operating that patch for at least 20 years and probably longer than that.
This is the place where toddlers three and four years old learn about the magic of fresh picked fruit. This is where families keep coming back year after year because it has become a part of springtime tradition. This is where memories are made.
Strawberry season is short and spectacular. By the first week in June, summer heat is affecting the flavor and texture, but for the five or six weeks that they are in season, it’s as though the gods of fruit and flavor have blessed the earth.
How to Pick’ Em
There is some technique to picking strawberries, there is some stooping and kneeling involved. It’s probably a good idea to not tug too hard on the strawberry when harvesting it. Either the strawberry will fall apart or the vine it’s attached to—called a stolen—will detach from the plant. It’s also possible a couple of unripe strawberries will come with it.
This is a great activity for kids. Anyone seven or eight years of age and older should be able to pick strawberries unsupervised. Mostly because younger children try to pick anything they can get their hands on. It’s also important that they between the rows and don’t go walking through the plants.
We always made sure the kids tried two or three strawberries that were just picked. It keeps the curiosity in check and it is an incredible treat.
Starting just about the time strawberry picking is done, the Malcos have a few acres of blueberries to pick.
After crossing the Wright Brothers Bridge look for the strawberry sign on the right. If it’s there, it’s strawberry picking time.