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U-Pick Berry Picking Tips

Strawberry picking season has arrived! Strawberries mark the beginning of summer in Michigan.  It's fun to head out first thing in the morning mid June, and load your buckets full of beautifully plump strawberries.  Once you have picked your own strawberries, the store bought ones will never taste as fresh and good. Yum my mouth is watering!

If you know me well, you know I try to eat organically grown fresh fruits and veggies.  I am particular about the dirty dozen, and strawberries fall under this category. I performed a search and found many u-pick strawberry fields in and around Metro Detroit. During this search, I found it extremely difficult, if not impossible to find organically grown u-pick strawberry farms.  Since strawberries are very delicate they are hard to grow organically,  which of course, makes it even harder to find u- pick "organic" strawberry fields.

Strawberries are not the only berry we can enjoy picking around this time of year.  We also have blueberries and raspberries.   Luckily during my search, I did find some promising finds on blueberries and raspberries.  Here is what I found.

My Search Findings

  1.  I did not find any u-pick organic farms that had strawberries in any of the major counties in Eastern Michigan.
  2. Beckwith's Berries and Blooms offer organically grown raspberries but there was no mention of strawberries.  They are located north of Rochester on Rochester Rd. 
  3. If you are looking for pesticide free berries, your best bet is the pesticide free blueberry farms. These blueberry farms are not certified organic, but pesticide free is not far from it. 

Picking Tips!

I messaged my friend who is known for her annual berry picking trips to ask her for some tips.  This is what she said.
  1. When picking strawberries wear red to save your clothes or wear something old you don't mind staining. 
  2. They charge you by weight but they don't weigh your children before and after.
  3. Don't wash strawberries until you are ready to eat them.  They will last longer.
  4. You will have to get on the ground, so a kneeling pad or a stool to sit on is helpful.
  5. Have a few good strawberry recipes on hand.  You will need to do something with your berries.  Here is  her favorite strawberry bread recipe.
  6. Go early!  Once the berries are picked for the day, they close.  Many farms have a hotline number you can call.
  7. Wear plenty of sunscreen and hats.  You are in the middle of a field with no shade.  It is HOT!  Another bonus for going early.
  8. Strollers and wagons do not fit down the lanes.  Plan on baby-wearing if you have a tiny one. 
  9. Bring extra containers or buckets to put berries in.  Have containers weighed before picking.  This way you are not charged for the weight of your bucket. 
  10. Plan on getting messy!  Bring wipes and an extra set of clothes for your children.  They will need a fresh outfit when they are done. 

 Check out this useful site on ALL the strawberry u-pick farms in the area.  This is an excellent source.

Where do you pick berries?  We would love to hear about your experience.  Please tell all!  I'm heading to pick berries this week and want your recipes also!  Happy picking.
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