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Sensational strawberries: Popular berry stars at U-Pick farms and farmers markets

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It's the prime season for strawberries. The sweet, crimson fruit is at its peak now.

Fans of the berry will want to round up the family to plan a day of picking in the Region. There are a variety of U-Pick farms locally as well as throughout the Midwest within a short driving distance.

Check the following list for places to enjoy the picking experience. The list is just a sample of places which have U-Pick opportunities.

Garwood Orchard and Farm Market, 5911 W. 50 South, LaPorte

The U-Pick is scheduled to run through July 4. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. for U-Pick. Call for exact closing date as information is subject to change. Pre-picked strawberries also are available.

FYI: 219-362-4385

Johnson's Strawberry Farm, 8960 E. Ridge Road, Hobart.  U-pick strawberries are now available. There is a $5 admission fee per person and $10 fee per person to pick on festival weekends in addition to purchasing the strawberries. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pre-picked strawberries also are available.

Johnson's Strawberry Festival takes place June 18 and 19. Other festivals take place on weekends throughout the year. Call for more details.

FYI: Call the farm at 219-962-1383.

Illinois:

Heider's Berry Farm, 1106 N. Queen Anne Road, Woodstock

The farm is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Strawberry picking is available now. Call the farm or visit heidersberryfarm.com for more information.

FYI: 815-338-0301

Michigan:

Bixby Orchards, 5745 Pokagon Road, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

U-Pick will be available through the end of June. Call the farm or visit its Facebook page for updated information.

FYI: 269-473-6681

Stover's U-Pick and Farm Market, 7837 M-139, Berrien Springs, Michigan

Call for the current U-Pick schedule and information. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Monday to Saturday. Pre-picked berries also are available.

FYI: 269-471-1401

Wisconsin:

Thompson's Strawberry Farm, 14000-75th St., Bristol, Wisconsin., 6621 156th Ave., Bristol.

Hours for U-Pick strawberries are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Pre-picked strawberries also are available. The U-Pick farm opens June 15. Call for updates on picking schedule and conditions. Prices are $16 for a 4-quart basket.

FYI: 262-857-2353 or thompsonstrawberryfarm.com

Event:

Strawberry Festival, downtown Long Grove, Illinois. The popular annual fest will be held June 24 to 26. Food, drinks, live music and family entertainment will be featured. Visit longgrove.org/festivals/strawberry-fest/.

If you have strawberries left over from your picking adventure, try the following recipe.

Berry Lemon Mousse Parfait

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar, divided

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon Pure Lemon Extract

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 cup blueberries

1 cup sliced strawberries

DIRECTIONS: Beat heavy cream, 5 tablespoons of the sugar, lemon juice and extracts in large chilled bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Toss berries and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Layer mousse and berries in dessert dishes. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.

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