Pick-your-own berry farms give you a fun activity and some tasty fruit when you’re done. You can often find them in rural areas near larger cities. Before you head out with your kids to pick berries, take some time to plan ahead.
Check It Out
The conditions can change quickly when it comes to fruit. Berries come and go quickly. Check the farm’s website to find out exactly which fruits are available for picking at the time. The timing can vary from one year to the next depending on the weather during the growing season. A late start to the growing season means the berries will come later, for example.
It’s also a good idea to call before you plan to go. If the farm was busier than normal, they might not have a lot of ripe berries on the vines that day. Or they might be closed for another reason.
The berry patches will be out in the open where the plants can get the sunlight they need to grow. Wear clothes that cover up the skin. Put a hat on your child. Put sunscreen on everyone before heading out to the berry patch. Insect repellent is also a good idea since you’re likely to run into some bugs on the farm.
Pack Some Extras
With kids in tow, you’ll want to be prepared to avoid temper tantrums. Bring plenty of water for everyone to cool off with in the hot sun. Pack some snacks in case the kids get hungry. Check with the farm to see if you can pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds. Bring a blanket in case your child wants to take a break from picking.
Discuss the Process
Berry picking is a delicate process. Berries squish easily. Talk to your child about touching the berries gently when they pick them. Point out the berries that are ripe. Let them know not to pick the other berries that aren’t ripe yet. Most berry farms are okay with a little snacking while you pick. But make sure your child doesn’t eat more than she gets into the basket.
Once you make it home with your bounty of berries, make something with them. Make a pie or a cobbler. Your child gets to see the entire process from harvesting the food to making something with it.