Strawberry season at Dempsey Farms: A Lowcountry tradition
Nothing says springtime in Lowcountry like strawberry picking at Dempsey Farms. And this year, it looks like springtime came early.
Dempsey Farms had a soft opening on Monday, marking the beginning of strawberry season. According to its website, the U-Pick farm opened early for strawberry season due to warm weather, and the opening hours schedule will vary.
Davey Dempsey has watched generations of families flock to his you-pick strawberry farm in St. Helena for almost three decades, but the best part of his job has remained the same.
“Seeing the kids and their smiling red faces covered in strawberry — that’s my favorite thing in the world,” Davey Dempsey, Dempsey Farms owner, said. “The kids just love strawberry season.”
When to go
Dempsey says Strawberry season in South Carolina lasts from about mid-March/ early April to late May, depending on the weather. This year it came early.
The taste of the berries change as the season progresses, according to Dempsey.
“Strawberries get sweeter with more heat, so if they stay on the vine too long, they’ll get too sweet to eat,” he said.
Dempsey says his farm usually gets “picked out” early on in the season.
“My phone starts ringing off the hook come the second week of March with people ready to pick their strawberries,” he said. “We have generations of families come every spring. I see a lot of the same folks every year.”
A Beaufort tradition
“It’s a springtime tradition in Beaufort,” said Cathy Nisky, who was picking strawberries at Dempsey Farms with her husband. “We love it — we come every year.”
As for picking strawberries, Dempsey says there is no trick to it really.
“Just pluck it of the vine and enjoy, it’s real simple,” he said.
Need to know
Dempsey Farms is located 1576 Sea Island Pkwy, St Helena Island, about 15 minutes outside of Beaufort. Hours will vary this season, so it's best to call ahead at (843) 838-3656
Dempsey Farms has been a family owned and operated business in St. Helena Island for more than 60 years. When strawberry season ends, Dempsey will start harvesting vegetables including green beans, sweet corn, and tomatoes.
What’s your favorite springtime spot Beaufort County? Tweet @MandyMatney with suggestions.