Summer fruit picking is a fun escapade that helps children to understand where their food comes from. It can also be challenging and may require a little patience. The following is a list of suggestions to help make your visit to the farm or orchard with kids even better.
1. Explain to the children what to expect before you go.
On the car ride there I talk to children about what to do when we arrive. The do’s and don’ts; for example, only pick the ripe and red strawberries, blue blueberries not the green ones, and don’t squeeze the fruit. Be sure to not eat the fruit until we get home and wash them. All the rules the kids need to know to make our visit run smoothly.
2. Bring baby wipes.
The kids’ hands and faces always seem to become a sticky mess while fruit picking. Definitely pack baby wipes for a fast clean up. A simple zipper baggy full of wipes tucked in your pocket is perfect.
3. Bring cash.
Some of the farms only take cash and don’t have ATMs. Come prepared, farms and orchards are usually in the middle-of-nowhere.
4. Call the berry hotline.
It’s best to call ahead of time to make sure the farm is open and to reconfirm the berry times. This info may also be posted on their Facebook page. If the weather is questionable, be sure to always call before venturing out and make sure the orchard or farm you’re driving to is welcome to guests and has plenty of fruit for picking. There’s nothing more disappointing than getting ready for fun and then discovering it’s actually not open just yet.
5. Remember sun protection,
Wear sunscreen and bring hats. Summer fruit grows best in large open fields and you definitely don’t want to get burnt.
6. Go early in the day.
During the week and especially on the weekends, try to be there as soon as the farm or orchard opens. This gives you the best shot at the freshest fruit. Waiting until mid-day means you might fight the crowds and the fruit could be picked over.
7. Plan some recipes.
Fruit doesn’t stay fresh for long, make plans for what you’ll want to do with everything once you get home. This can be an open discussion with the children on the way home. Make a pie, jam, smoothies, ice pops, so many fun options.
Farms and Orchards in Fairfield County to pick your own summer fruit:
Jones Family Farms at Valley Farm
606 Walnut Tree Hill Road
Pick your own strawberries in June, blueberries mid-July to late August. Call ahead for picking hours on the farmer Jones crop line.
451 Sport Hill Road
Pick your own raspberries late June; peaches, mid-July; blueberries, August; apples, mid-August. Call for picking times.
278 Leavenworth Road / Route 110
Summer fruit and the best months to pick your own in Fairfield County:
Strawberries June through early July
Raspberries mid June through July
Blueberries July and August
Peaches July through September
Apples August through mid October