Longtime Central Florida staple, Oak Haven Farms, ends 28 years of strawberry picking

Saturday was the end of an era for strawberry lovers at Oak Haven Farms, in Sorrento. They'd been welcoming customers to pick their own strawberries there for the last 28 years. 

"We would come for playdates, and we'd have birthday parties here, and field trips over the years," said Stefanie Macfarlane, who was picking strawberries.

Owners Harry Stauderman and his wife are stepping back from that part of the business. Saturday was the last day for strawberry picking, and many families decided to show up. 

"We love making the memories and a couple of weeks ago he said we have to go get strawberries, we haven't done it this year! I looked it up and said oh no, it's their last time! So grateful for the experience and memories, for sure," said Rebecca Thomas.

Stauderman said picking the strawberries, though, was the easy part. 

"We start the season in early August by making the beds and laying the plastic. Then we switch to picking grapes and making wine, and then we go back to planting strawberries in October. Once they're planted we grow them for a couple months until early December to start picking them, then we're open every weekend to get them picked and get them off and keep them healthy."

He said it was great seeing the same faces returning year after year. "We've had a really good time all these years, got to know a lot of good people. We've had a chance to see children grow up and get old, and it's been a blessing."

Lauren Brown was one of them, who visited Oak Haven as a child and had been working on the farm. She said she was really going to miss it. "Driving all the tractors and especially doing the hayride because I do the hayrides for the kids and it will be sad not to do that anymore."

Even though this was the last day of strawberry picking at Oak Haven Farms, it wasn’t the end of the business. 

They're going to be keeping their vineyard open and will continue making their own wines.