Pick-your-own produce farms can be found in nearly every state in the United States. These farms grow a variety of produce and then when it is ready to be harvested the general public can come in and pick their own food.
The charge is usually per bushel or basket and it is much less than what you would expect to pay at your grocery store. The real value, however, is in the memories that you will make with your family.
When I was growing up we visited a pick-your-own strawberry farm every year. Almost fifty years later I can still remember the sweetness of those sun warmed berries and the joy of a family outing.
We live about an hour away from a blueberry farm in East Texas. Every year we get up just as the sun is coming up and grab donuts for breakfast. During the long drive it is traditional to read Blueberries for Sal. For us it is all about tradition!
In Texas it is important to get your picking done early or the only memory you are going to end up with is the ambulance ride to the hospital. When it is 110F outside and you are in the middle of a sandy field with no shade you can get overheated pretty fast. For us mornings are the time to go.
It takes several hours to fill the baskets, even with our large family all working. It might be because so many berries find their way into mouths rather than into baskets but that is all part of the fun. After the blueberries are picked and paid for we settle at one of the picnic tables for lunch and a little rest time before we head home.
Dinner is traditionally â€“ you guessed it â€“ blueberry pancakes, bacon, and eggs. It is easy to fix after the long, hot day and it celebrates our hard work harvesting the berries.
There are many different kinds of pick-your-own farms, from apple orchards to cornfields. Usually the farm will provide baskets for you to use when picking and bags to take your harvest home in.
Be sure to bring lots of water to drink. It is hot work no matter where you live. Other items that you will want to have along are:
- Bug spray
- Change for soda machines
- Baby wipes for cleaning dusty hands and faces
Many of these farms have created picnic spots and most have, at the very least, port-a-potties. Be sure to call and ask what the facilities are like before you go.
If you donâ€™t know where the nearest pick-your-own farm is you can check Pick Your Own, a website that lists farms in each state. Most of the listings include things like hours, contact information and what crops are available.
Have you ever taken a family trip to pick your own fruit or vegetables? Do you have any tips for someone who is going for the first time?
Photo credit: marye audet