Summer isn’t complete until I’ve gone blueberry picking at least once. Maybe it’s because I grew up near a pick-your-own berry farm, or more likely because there’s no other food in the world I like quite as much as blueberries. There’s also just something so rewarding about being involved in procuring the berries you eat and seeing the land where it’s grown.
The season varies every year for blueberry picking, because the crops are sensitive to moisture and temperature changes. I’ve been picking in the Pacific Northwest as early as June and in Wisconsin as late as August. Some years there hasn’t been a crop at all, which is disappointing to say the least!
The general rule for the Midwest is early summer strawberries, mid summer blueberries and late summer raspberries. So not to worry if you’ve missed strawberries and blueberries where you live, there might still be raspberries on the horizon.
Here’s what I’ve learned from years of faithful berry picking.
When choosing what to wear berry picking, consider clothing that you don’t mind getting stained. Blue and black clothes for blueberry picking work out well. Pants or shorts are ideal because picking berries can require crouching and sitting on the ground.
A hat to keep the bugs and sun off your face. Need hat inspiration? Here are three of my favorites, at different price points:
What to bring:
A cooler with a tray and/or container to transport your berries home in.
Cash, as some berry farms don’t take credit cards.
A small child or two. Berry picking is a fun activity for little ones, so give the kids in your life a chance to learn about farming, food production and nature if you can!
What to leave at home:
Your pets! Most farms don’t allow dogs.
Picking baskets and buckets. The farm will supply these, though you can bring your own if you prefer.
What to know:
Call ahead! Most berry farms are small family operations that will close if they get picked out or if there’s inclement weather. Before you drive way out into the country, confirm that the farm will be open when you get there.
Not all farms are pesticide free, so do your research ahead of time if you prefer organic produce.
Find farms near you at pickyourown.org.
What berries are in season near you?