Spring and Summer can be ripe times to pick berries at local orchards and farms. We are lucky enough to have a few places to pick within 30 miles of our place.
Although many people around this area are berry-picking veterans, I’m a newbie. This year was only my second year to head out in search of fine fruits. The main reason for this is, uh, I don’t like berries. I know, I know. My husband thinks I’m crazy. I know they are sweet and healthy, but I never acquired a taste for them. However, the rest of my family members are berry buffs, especially my toddler. So, I’ve become a seeker of these seasonal fruits.
Happily, I’ve found berry-picking to be a fun excursion to enjoy with my two-year-old, Brance. Last year, he wasn’t much help, more of an eater than a picker. But, this year, he did really well and helped me put the ripe berries into our basket.
Strawberries were the first fruits we collected. They are in season here from early April until the end of May. We like the “U-Pick” places that offer the opportunity to go out into their fields and pick yourself. This is usually a cheaper option than buying the fruit off the shelf. It doesn’t take long to fill a basket with strawberries. Also, the weather is usually decent in the spring, so it makes for a pleasant outing with a sweet treat at the end.
The next berry to make a showing is the dewberry. We have plenty of these growing wild around our property. The plant itself is actually a nuisance. It’s difficult to control and has thorns, and the cows don’t eat it. (Although the goats love it.) Anyway, for a couple of weeks in May, dewberries ripen for the pickin’. Armed with mosquito repellent, Brance and I walked around one hot afternoon and picked as many dewberries as we could find around our pasture. The dewberry seeds are pretty crunchy, I think, but Brance doesn’t mind. He ate the whole lot.
Blackberries ripen just a couple weeks after dewberries. I think they look the same. I’ve been told blackberries are usually a little sweeter and less acidic. We have a couple blackberry plants in our yard that my husband planted. Brance ate those berries right off the vine. There weren’t many. There are local places that offer blackberry picking, too, as they are more of a domestic plant than the dewberry.
We also went blueberry picking this year. Blueberries are in season here from June until early July. Blueberry picking takes a lot of time and effort. Not only is it a lot hotter outside by then, but the berries are so much smaller that it takes a long time to fill a bucket.
Other fruits that grow locally and can be picked are peaches, plums, and persimmons. We did peaches last year, and I plan on doing a peachy expedition again before the season’s over.
I would highly recommend finding fruit locally if you can. Fresh and local is best, right?