Strawberries ready for picking at Jones Farms in Shelton

Strawberry picking season began last week at Jones Family Farms in Shelton and should continue through early July.

This year’s June 11 opening date was four days later than in 2013, mostly due to a cold winter and cool early spring.

“Last week there was a lot of moisture, which is excellent for strawberries,” Tom Harbinson of Jones Family Farms said on Monday. “And over the weekend and today, there has been lots of sun, which they need to ripen, so the weather is fantastic.”

Harbinson said strawberries can ripen fast, so “it’s important that people come when they can.”

Picking is taking place either at Pumpkin Seed Hill on Beardsley Road or Valley Farm on Walnut Tree Hill Road, depending on the day.

A popular tradition

Many people make it a tradition to visit Jones Family Farms during the strawberry season, and Harbinson noted some bring their Jones cardboard picking boxes from years past — a form of recycling.

This year on opening day, he said, a 91-year-man picked 13 pounds of strawberries to take home with him.

Paul Heon has been working at Jones Farms for about seven years, handling different responsibilities with the changing seasons.

On Monday, he was driving pickers out to the fields from the parking lot. “I love it,” he said. “People are very happy when they come out here.”

Heon, a retired State Police trooper, admitted he likes to eat a few strawberries himself. “Nothing tastes better than a freshly-picked strawberry,” he said.

Call the crop line

For the latest picking information (locations, times, harvest updates), call the Jones Family Farms’ recorded crop line at 203-929-8425. Picking hours are Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m.-noon.

Jones Family Farms also has pick-your-own blueberries, pumpkins and Christmas trees based on the season, as well as a winery. The summer farmers market will begin on Friday, July 4 at the Valley Farm. Learn more about the 400-acre operation at