This Article is About
animals and plants
smile on her face
loving every minute
vegetables
rewards
fruits
photos
Support Your Farmers - Pick Your Own Farms
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Support Your Farmers   -   Pick Your Own Farms

I try to raise my children to appreciate nature. We take them on hikes in the woods and teach them about the animals and plants that live there. We go during all seasons in order to show them how nature responds to each season. And they love it!

I have pictures of my husband and son walking through the fall leaves. My son is still learning to walk and he was loving crunching through the leaves with daddy's help.

I have photos of my daughter throwing leaves into the air with a huge smile on her face. She was four years old at the time and loving every minute of it.

There are pictures of my son running through the woods in the middle of winter, stomping on the ice as he went. These are special to me as he had just started to run and chase his big sister and I loved seeing him express this new skill.

Nature and my family are both important to me. So, blending them together is important as well.

This is one of the biggest reasons I started growing a garden. I love to teach my children about the plants growing and enjoy the delicious rewards of our labors.

But before we ventured into the world of gardening, we became regulars at pick your own farms.

These farms go by many names, but I know them best as You Pick (U-Pick) or Pick Your Own farms. These farms give you the opportunity to go into the field and pick as much as you wish of their fruits or vegetables. They will charge you by the pound for what you pick. It is wise to bring your own containers for picking though, as many places will charge you for containers (if they have any at all).

First, a word of warning. There are farms that allow you to pick your own produce for a discounted rate vs. what you would pay per pound to buy the same produce from their stand. Then there are commercialized pick your own farms. These are "entertainment" venues more than farms and frequently requires you to purchase tickets for a tractor ride to the picking spots and then charge you full price for the items that you pick. While these trips are fun, they are not budget friendly.

Unless I am taking the kids for a special treat, we go to the discount pick your own farms - mostly for picking fruit. I pick enough at a discount for snacking as well as freezing and canning to eat over the winter. There are three farms locally that I pick at.

The first farm opens in June and this is where I pick my strawberries. My daughter and I have a grand time picking 10 pounds or more at a time. My son wanders the field and eats about a pound or so before we are done picking! But we all have a blast and love the strawberry shortcakes, strawberry and mixed berry jam, and smoothies we make from these beautiful berries.

Once strawberry season is over, we move on to cherry picking at my favorite farm. This farm does not open until cherry season, which is middle to late June, and once it does you can guarantee we will be there once a week all summer long. The cherries were fantastic - you should have seen my son's face when we were done, cherry juice everywhere!

Once cherries are over, we'll begin picking blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, pears, and apples at this farm. Delicious fruits all summer long - my kids are already asking when picking season starts because they cannot wait to get in those orchards and get their hands on fresh summer fruits. We all have a blast.

Our final farm we reserve for peaches. They have the most fantastic, juicy peaches ever and it doesn't hurt that it's on the property of a winery - my kids get peaches, I get wine. What could be better?

With the warm spring weather and preparing my garden, I am not only dreaming of the vegetables I will produce. I am dreaming of warm summer days spent picking, canning and eating delicious fruits followed by a dip in the pool to cool off after a long day's work in the field.

It's going to be a great summer!


Street Talk

Great article, I also love u-pick farms. I grew up with lots of farms around. We try and visit a farm each year to pick blueberries.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Blueberry picking has to be my all time favorite. We ate blueberries until I thought we'd turn blue last year :) And all the cakes, muffins, and pies you can make. The best!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Great article, when our three girls were growing up we would take them to the u-pick farms for strawberry's. It was great. Here in Minnesota the growing season is short because of the the four seasons, but that is why we live here. The green grass, the fall colors, the thick ice and the spring air.The cold winters are not as nice as we are getting up in age.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

I bet your girls have fond memories of picking those strawberries. That's the other fabulous thing about u-pick. Building memories. We pack a picnic lunch and spend 2-4 hours in the field when we go. It's great bonding time and the kids learn so much.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
Tracy Cox  

We also love to go pick our own fruits. We grow our vegetables, but there is one local farm not to far from our house where we buy and pick our fruits. I love summer and I can't wait for "fresh" fruits and vegetables.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

It's wonderful, isn't it? All this warm weather is getting me impatient for picking season. It cannot come soon enough!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Great article, the only U pick farms we have here are those that have no fence between the road and the lands, and you steal from them. So we don't, but I love the concept, the fun of cropping and then devouring great. The winery as well what a bargain.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

In our area, more farms are starting to open their doors to pickers as it saves them money on labor. My favorite farm also employs some pickers and sells their produce to local grocery stores as well. However, I was sad to see the strawberry farm only did U-pick; so many strawberries were lost in a mid June heat wave. It was so wasteful, but at least we got our 40 or 50 pounds worth before they finished for the season!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Cakes, muffins and pies you mention higher up, damn it sounds good.

  
  about 6 years ago
Stacydee  

Great article and I especially love how well you are teaching the love of gardening to your kids. U-picks are great, I'd love to own one one day. Any promotion of food growing I'm in support of, especially to kids. I have the same dreams, thinking of the sweet fruit and all the good stuff that goes with it. Summer is always welcome!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

I think it would be amazing to own a U-Pick farm! Sharing a love of fresh fruits and vegetables with others is so very important. And it teaches so many children about farms and how plants grow since not every has enough room to grow their own. U-Pick is the next best thing. I'd love to get involved in a community garden, but cannot seem to find one locally.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
Stacydee  

Imagine all the fruit you can handle in every form possible! I've been entertaining opening a community garden, don't know how yet but that is beside the point. We have only a couple around here and the waiting list is years long.

  
  about 6 years ago
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