As the weather gets warmer and summer approaches, I think of strawberry picking season! As a child, my family and I would go strawberry picking with my siblings and our cousin Mariellen for wild strawberries. I remember eating them right off the bush! Of course, because they grew wild, they were not sprayed with any chemicals nor any sprays whatsoever. Now I like to go to farmers’ markets or go pick my own berries at places such as Eno River Farm.
Yesterday my sister asked me if my husband and I wanted to join her and my brother in law at Eno River Farm. They said their friends had visited the farm, and they are practicing social distancing. The farm had just opened in March, and it was time for strawberry picking.
Location of Eno River Farm
Hillsborough is a quaint little town that has been growing over the years. It is home to many authors, creatives, craftsmen, and the like. The downtown area is right out of Stars Hollow. As some of you may know, Stars Hollow is a fictional town in Connecticut featured on Gilmore Girls and is one of my favorite feel-good go to Netflix series. When you are leaving downtown, you will pass pretty farmland with rolling hills, and the Eno River Farm is only five minutes away. It is also not far from North Durham or Chapel Hill. It is located on the corner of St. Mary’s and Lawrence Street at 2127 St. Marys Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278
How Eno River Farm Was Born
Keegan Czesak, who came up with the idea for the farm, attended Virginia Tech to study Agriculture Technology and Management. He was inspired to do so after spending every summer on his grandparent’s farm farming potatoes in Virginia. One of their clients was Frito Lay, and they supplied the company with potatoes for their delicious chips.
Keegan had a senior project to do, which was to come up with a business plan for a farm. After Keegan graduated, he shared his vision with his uncle Jude Samulski who lived in Hillsborough and had purchased land on the Eno River. After finishing the concept with details, they worked to bring the dream into reality. Both are committed to providing sustainable agriculture and memorable experience for all who visit Eno River Farm.
Our Visit to Eno River Farm
When we arrived, we drove up into a grand entry with a very spacious parking lot; their facility is located on a hill. The landscaping is beautifully done, with lots of green grass to lay a blanket down to enjoy some of their homemade ice creams or eat the berries that you can pick. No outside food is allowed on the premises; we’re not sure if that was a temporary thing because of the pandemic or if this will continue going forward.
Strawberries, Blueberries, Red and Black Raspberries
I wanted to go pick some fresh strawberries, yet I wasn’t prepared because it had rained and it was muddy; fortunately for us, they had employees picking buckets of berries and selling them. So this time we choose to do that, but next time I will wear my outdoor garden shoes, just in case it rains that day. I also picked up a large container of blueberries that they were selling from a neighboring farm. The Eno River Farm blueberries were not ready yet but will be in the future.
Ice Cream You Scream for Ice Cream!
They make their own ice cream right there on the farm! They have several flavors: Banana, Peppermint, Chocolate, Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip, Coconut, and few others on this day. Believe it or not, I didn’t have ice cream, yet the other three did. Before I could snap a photo, they started to eat theirs, but I did manage to get a few pictures. They also make their own waffle cones for $1. Their one scoop was very generous for $3.00, and two scoops for $3.50; they also had a three scoop, but I would have had to share. Seriously, their one scoop was massive!
Eno River Farm is building a huge glasshouse!! This is where they will grow many of their flowers, ferns, and fall vegetables that they will provide to the community year-round. They will also sell Christmas trees and pumpkins.
I am looking forward to visiting the different times of the year to purchase the variety of goods of the season. On our visit this time, I was able to buy sweet potatoes, squash, and heirloom tomatoes.
Honey and Jam
I love fresh local honey! At the Eno River Farm, their bees are doing their thing throughout the strawberry plants and then producing honey for our enjoyment. I picked up some yesterday, and I began using it as soon as I arrived home. I also purchased their seedless red raspberry jam. They also had strawberry and blackberry jam that looked delicious… next time – this time, one jar at a time!
During this pandemic, my family and I have been caring for some of our older neighbors. When we returned home, we were happy to share some of the strawberries with them; they said the same as we did, “The strawberries were delicious!”
If you live in North Carolina or on the Southern Border of Virginia, it’s worth visiting Eno River Farm, because it is Strawberry Picking Season!