A family picks strawberries at Eckert's.

The Strawberry Returns—With A 50th Anniversary Celebration At Eckert’s

Monday May 14, 2018

By Mark

Strawberries are coming! They may be a bit late, but the crop is expected to be a big, juicy one at Eckert's Strawberry Festival.

Each year Eckert’s Family Farms in nearby Belleville, Illinois celebrates spring with the arrival of the strawberry. This year’s celebration is extra special—Eckert’s is marking the 50th anniversary of its pick-your-own strawberry fields and its very own Strawberry Festival.

Strawberries will be ready for picking on May 19 at Eckert’s. The season runs through mid-June depending on the weather.

The family-friendly Strawberry Festival, on May 19, 20, 26, 27 & 28, offers loads of things to do with carnival rides, pony rides, petting animals, live music and more.

If you can’t make it to the festival, you can still celebrate the strawberry at 50 St. Louis area restaurants featuring special dishes made with Eckert’s strawberries May 18-20. The dishes are unique to each restaurant and available while supplies last. Among the restaurants: Grace Meat & Three, Red Oak Biscuits and Pint Size Bakery in St. Louis; Old Bakery Beer Company in Alton; Seven Bar & Restaurant in Belleville and Taqueria Z in Edwardsville.

This comes after a long winter that didn’t want to end leaving some wondering if strawberries would ever arrive this year.

"The cool spring has delayed our bloom, but with the warm weather we are experiencing now, we are playing catch up,” Chris Eckert, president of Eckert’s, Inc., said. “All in all, we are expecting to have a very big crop of high quality strawberries this year, they will just be available a little later than what we are used to. The berries are really enjoying the weather now."

Don’t feel like picking your own? Take home a quart of strawberries from Eckert’s Country Store, enjoy a cream custard strawberries sundae or strawberries on a refreshing salad at Eckert’s Country Restaurant.

The Garden Center will even teach you how to grow your own strawberries.

“Several generations of our family have played a part in caring for strawberries,” Eckert said. “Likewise, it is not uncommon to see generations of families come out to our farm to enjoy the fruits of our labor. There’s nothing more rewarding than that.”

Have a favorite strawberry moment?  Whether you visit the farm, enjoy a special at a local restaurant or make your own strawberry dish at home, you can share it on Instagram with the hashtag #50YearsOfStrawberries@Eckerts Farms. Eckert’s will feature posts on its social media accounts, and posts will compete for a variety of prizes.

For more information about pick-your-own strawberries and the Strawberry Festival and directions to Eckert’s, check out the farms' website.


Pick-your-own strawberries and Strawberry Festival

(Insider tip: Time your visit to avoid the heat. Pick in the morning and hit the festival in the afternoon.)

May 19, 20, 26, 27 & 28

Picking: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Festival: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Eckert’s Family Farms

951 S. Green Mount Road Belleville, IL 62220