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It's Summertime and the Pickin' is Easy

Strawberries The time is ripe for berry picking in the Berkshires! Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries the area is resplendent with nature's sweet sensations, many grown on farms where you can pick your own.

There's nothing fresher or tastier than just-picked succulent berries, and picking your own seems to add extra flavor to their already wonderful summery taste. Many visitors consider a visit to a farm as a must in the Berkshires, and kids love it as much as their parents.

Berry picking is a refreshing way to spend time with the family and affords a wonderful opportunity to take home a taste of the Berkshires. Blueberries in cream, strawberries in champagne and raspberry-topped cheesecake are just a few simple, yet elegant ways to enjoy these tasty treats.

Look for friendly signs along the roadways inviting you to venture into the fields, or choose from this sampling of pick-your-own berry farms. Here are the juicy details:

Cumworth Farm, Rt. 112, Cummington. Blueberries and raspberries. Bed and Breakfast on property. Call for hours, picking conditions and directions. 413-634-5529

Howden Farm, Rannapo Rd., Sheffield. Three miles south of the center of Sheffield. Blueberries and raspberries. Call for hours and picking conditions. 413-229-8481

Ioka Valley Farm, Rt. 43, Hancock. www.taconic.net/iokavalleyfarm. Eight miles west of intersection of Rts. 7 and 43. Strawberries. Farm stand; petting area Fri. - Mon. Open Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. - noon; 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.; Sat. - Sun. 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. 413-738-5915

Kirchner's Farm, 143 Churchill St., Pittsfield. From center of Pittsfield, take West Street three miles, turn right onto Churchill, top of first hill. Blueberries and raspberries mid-July thru early September. Call for appt. 413-447-9085

Strawberries

Lakeview Orchards, Old Cheshire Road, Lanesborough. From Rt. 7 take Summer St. to Old Cheshire Rd. Farm on left. Strawberries. Farm kitchen and bakery; gift baskets; shipping. Open daily in July 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 413-448-6009

Mountain View Farm, Old Cheshire Rd., Lanesborough. Take Rt. 8 to Allendale Shopping Center to Crane Avenue to Oak Hill which becomes Partridge. Turn left at the end of Partridge, and right onto Old Cheshire. Strawberries. Open Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sat. - Sun. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. 413-445-7642

Pittsfield. Blueberries. Blueberry recipes supplied. Open Sat. and Sun. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Call for picking conditions. 413-623-5859

Taft Farms, Rt. 183 & Division St., Great Barrington. www.bcn.net~taftfarm. Take Rt. 7 south from Stockbridge; follow signs. Pick your own strawberries and raspberries mid-June until picked out. Call ahead for hours and picking conditions. 413-528-1515

Editor's note: For a comprehensive list of pick-your-own berry farms, other agricultural information and links to related sites, visit the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture at www.massgrown.org.