Picking your own fruit can be an enjoyable way to spend time with family and friends, save money and get the freshest fruit possible. Here are seven tips to make the most of your experience.
- Call ahead. Some farms will have a website listing their hours and prices. But if you’re unfamiliar with the farm you are visiting, call ahead to get an idea of their hours, how the crop is looking and what the prices are.
- Bring your own containers. To cut costs, many farms ask you to bring your own containers to take your harvest home. Alternatively, they may charge you more to use their buckets. Bring large covered bowls, plastic food storage containers or even cleaned out yogurt or ice cream containers for carting your produce home.
- Bring cash. A lot of farms are not set up to run credit cards, and many will not accept checks. To be safe, bring enough cash to pay for your fruit.
- Only pick what you’ll buy. Don’t pick fruit that is under- or over-ripe. The over-ripe fruit will go bad before you can eat it, and in most cases, the under-ripe fruit won’t get to the ripeness you want at home.
- Taste as you go. Taste a few berries when you first start picking to get an idea of how the fruit should look and feel when it is ripe. But don’t go overboard with your tasting, as it isn’t fair to the farmers.
- Hydrate. Picking your own fruit can be thirsty work. Keep a bottle of water on you or in the car to stay hydrated.
- Wear sunscreen. In most berry fields, there will be very little shade. Wear sunscreen or a hat.
To find a farm, visit PickYourOwn.org, which provides a sortable list of U-pick farms in the United States, Canada and several other countries.