As Summer approaches more and more you-pick farms will open for the season. Some already have peaches, strawberries, and some beans available, while others are offering a variety of cherries and blueberries later in the season. Though every farm has their own rules, there are some universal tips for taking the family out for a day of fruit or veggie picking. Before you head out for a basket of berries, read this.
1. Web Search: If you hear about a farm, Google search them to find a Yelp! review page or dedicated web site with information, hours, location, and a phone number. Not all farms have a website, but a lot do actually have Yelp! pages with at least an address and phone number.
2. Get a Table: Not all farms have picnic tables. If the farm has a picnic table, that means you can enjoy a picking break for lunch with your family. If they don’t have a table then you aren’t allowed to eat at the farm and have to drive a bit to find a place to eat.
3. Call Ahead: Before you take the entire family out for the day, call the farm to see if they have you-pick crops available for the day, and to learn about any restrictions. These farms can have so many people in that everything gets picked in just a day.
4. Dress Light: It’s hot out, and even hotter on the farm when you’re picking all your favorite fruits, so wear clothes that will keep you cool, but protected.
5. Eat Breakfast: Having a decent breakfast ensures that your family won’t want to rush through or be done picking as soon as you get to the farm, and also that you won’t eat all of the you-pick produce. Not all farms allow pickers to taste the produce as you pick, and none of them want you to eat a meals worth.
6. Pack Lunch: If you plan on eating lunch at a picnic table, pack some snacks and lunch options for the whole family.
7. Leave Early: Be sure to leave home early to beat the crowds, and the heat, at the farm. This also guarantees that there are some prime fruits and veggies left.
8. Bring sun protection: Bring sunscreen and hats for everyone, since you’ll be outside a while.
9. Bring Cash: There are farms that accept credit cards, but not all do, and you may find that you want to stop by a neighboring farm after picking at one farm so it’s best to just bring cash and have yourself covered.
10. Bring Your Own Cooler: Again, not all farms have the same policies, so some provide containers for you to put fruit in and take home, others ask that you bring your own, and there are a few that provide containers for picking and ask that you place them in your own cooler or bin for travel home. Either way, it’s best to have an empty cooler with ice to place your picks in so nothing goes bad in the heat on the way home.
11. Leave the Pets at Home: Sorry, for sanitary reasons, please leave the pets at home.
12. Don’t Trash the Farm: Be sure to throw your trash put in the trash cans, or take it with you. This goes for fruit you pick, too. If you pick it, you buy it, don’t throw picked fruit around everywhere and leave it to rot.
Do you have any tips to add? Please share them in the comments below!