One of the things I most look forward to in May is strawberry picking time, especially when I can take our grandchildren on a berry picking expedition.

Thankfully, Middle Tennessee is full of farms that allow — encourage — individuals and families to come pick your own berries from their hundreds of strawberry plants. And I have to say fresh berries just off the vine are a sweet treat like no other.

Many of the local farms have already-picked berries that you can purchase, but picking your own is the way to go. Not only are the U-pick berries cheaper, but the experience is priceless, particularly for citified children who don’t often get a chance to see where their food comes from.

“We love for people to come out and pick their own berries at our farm,” said Jon Kelley, whose Kelley’s Berry Farm in Castalian Springs has been growing berries since 1978. “This is a great way to see exactly where the berries are coming from and how they are grown.”

The local strawberry season is in full swing now and should continue for a few more weeks, so get out there and get picking!

Here are some of the U-pick strawberry farms in Middle Tennessee:

• Delvin Farms, 6361 Cox Lane in Arrington. www.delvinfarms.com or call 615-538-5538

• Kelley’s Berry Farm, 50 Riverview Estate Lane in Castalian Springs just off Highway 231 north of Lebanon. kelleysberries.com or 615-633-7447

• Batey Farms, 5332 Baker Road in Murfreesboro. www.bateyfarms.com or 615-410-1070

• McCraw’s Strawberry Ranch, 2385 Rossview Road in Clarksville. Cash or Venmo only. 931-647-0187 or see McCraw’s Strawberry Ranch on Facebook

• Welker’s Farm, 1176 Jackson Lane in Charlotte. 615-714-0024 or see Welker’s Farm on Facebook

• Wagner Berry Farms, 4923 Ollie Chunn Road, on the outskirts of Spring Hill. 931-486-0337 or https://wagnerberry.com

• Bradley Kountry Acres, 650 Jake Link Road in Cottontown. 615-325-2836 or see Bradley Kountry Acres on Facebook

• Green Door Gourmet, 7011 River Road in Nashville, will have some Thursday and Sunday pop-up pickings for its strawberries over the next few weeks. The cost is $25 per person, which includes a basket of berries, but you have to sign up online at https://www.greendoorgourmet.com.

A few things to know

• Hours and days for picking vary depending on weather and availability of berries. So call the farm or check its website before you go to be sure it is open for picking and it still has berries.

• Most of the farms expect to have berries throughout May and maybe into June.

• Wear old shoes or boots. And be prepared for mud on some of the rows.

• Take lots of pictures, particularly if you have berry picking kiddos with you.

• It is good to know that most of the farms do not allow pets.

• Don’t be afraid to sample some berries as you pick. The farms encourage sampling!

• Many of the farms also grow blueberries and raspberries and peaches, so be sure to ask about future U-pick opportunities.

For more pick-your-own farms, go to www.picktnproducts.org. Click on “Pick Your Own” and select which fruit you want for a county-by-county list.

Mary Hance, who has four decades of journalism experience in the Nashville area, writes a weekly Ms. Cheap column. She also appears on Thursdays on “Talk of the Town” on NewsChannel 5. Reach her at mscheap@mainstreetmediatn.com and follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/mscheap.

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