GOSHEN -- Newcomer and veteran strawberry pickers alike are flocking to local farms for a fresh crop.
This is the first year Molly Kauffman of Goshen has picked strawberries.
"I eat a lot of strawberries, and I thought I would freeze them," she said.
Kauffman picked her berries at Yoder's U-Pick on 15th Street in Goshen.
Darcy VanDiepenbos, an employee at Yoder's, said as a whole, people have been happy with the strawberry crop this year.
"They came on a little earlier than last year," Vandiepenbos said.
Yoder Farm grows three types of strawberries: early glow, honey-eye and jewel.
VanDiepenbos said the early glows were better for people who can their strawberries, and the honey eyes were looking good right now.
Sale of the jewel strawberries begins today.
"They're sweet and big," VanDiepenbos said.
She also said any potential rain probably wouldn't damage the crop too much, and it might bring in more customers. During the pouring rain Monday, Vandiepenbos said people still came out to buy and pick strawberries.
"If it rains, [some] people say they like the strawberries better," she said.
But others are worried for the berries.
Elsie Zimmerman of Zimmerman Strawberry Farm in Wakarusa said increased rain could spoil some of the crop.
Even if it does rain, though, Zimmerman said she had confidence in this year's berries.
"We have picked some very good strawberries," she said. "I think they should do well."
VanDiepenbos said Yoder's would probably continue selling strawberries for the next couple of weeks, as the jewels have just begun being for sale.
Jane Short of Goshen said she picks strawberries once or twice a year, and going to Yoder's was an annual activity.
"My first job was picking strawberries," she said.
Short said she still has berries from last year's crop. She likes to use them in pies or freeze them into jam.
She said this year's crop was huge.
On Tuesday afternoon she picked for 15 minutes, then carried her wares to the scale and watched VanDiepenbos weigh them.
After 15 minutes, she had eight pounds of strawberries.
PLACES TO PICK AND BUY STRAWBERRIES
Hill Top Farms
Capitol Avenue and Dragoon Trail, Mishawaka
Will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Zimmerman Strawberry Farm
26766 C.R. 40, Wakarusa
Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m.
Costs $1.16 per pound in Zimmerman containers, $1.10 in personal containers
15th Street, south of College Avenue, Goshen
Open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m.
Costs $3 per quart of pre-picked berries, $1 per pound if customers pick their own