Tips For an Awesome Time Blueberry Picking
Ensure you and your family or friends have the best time blueberry picking.
Both fresh and frozen blueberries bought from the store are great, but nothing beats the fresh-as-can-be blueberries you’ll get from blueberry picking at a U-Pick blueberry farm. There are a host of benefits to going blueberry picking, in addition to the awesome health value of the little berries themselves. Florida’s blueberry season has just gotten under way, and U-Pick farms will soon open blueberry picking to the public. Grab your family and/or friends for a fun outing, follow the tips below, and get to blueberry picking!
The Benefits of Blueberry Picking
Going out blueberry picking has many benefits. First, it’s a healthy, outdoor activity that people of all ages can enjoy. It also gives you the opportunity to get a large volume of fresh blueberries at a low, low price; you do all the hard work yourself, so you save the mark-ups from the pickers, packagers and grocers.
Furthermore, you’re also contributing to your local agriculture economy. Many blueberry farms rely on U-Pick income to add to the entire farm’s bottom line. Most farms in the U.S. are family-owned, so when you give your money to a U-Pick blueberry operation, 100% of each dollar goes to a family that works hard, day in and day out, to help feed and/or clothe your family.
Tips for Successful Blueberry Picking
You’ll want to plan out your trip to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Make sure to:
- -Call ahead to confirm that the blueberry farm is open for U-Pick when you plan on going.
- -When you call ahead, it’s also a good idea to find out if you need to bring your own containers.
- -Plan for changes in the weather. You can’t pick during thunder and lightning storms.
- -Wear sunscreen; wearing a hat is a good idea too. You’ll likely be picking for at least an hour.
- -Bring plenty of water.
- -Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes, like boots or sneakers. Blueberry picking is not the best time to wear flip-flops or high heels.
- -Pets are not allowed in the blueberry fields.
- -Many farms only take cash as payment.
- -Bringing a cooler to take you blueberries home is a good idea.
Choosing the Best Berries
Picking blueberries is very easy. There are no thorns to contend with, like with blackberries and raspberries, and you don’t have to bend down, like when picking strawberries. However, you don’t want to come home with a bunch of under- or over-ripe blueberries. Here’s what to look for:
- -Don’t pick any berries that are wrinkled, broken or mushy.
- -Pick only berries that are completely blue; pink berries are still ripening.
- -A silvery-white sheen on the berries is natural.
- -Ripe berries should come off the stem easily.
- -Small berries can taste just as good as large berries.
- -Ask if the bushes have been sprayed with pesticides before eating any berries before they’ve been washed.
Find a list of Florida U-Pick blueberry farms here. If you can’t make it to a U-Pick blueberry farm, look for the “Fresh from Florida” label on packaging in the grocery store. You could also buy some blueberries at the Florida Blueberry Festival, April 22nd and 23rd, in Brooksville, Florida. Find blueberry recipes and freezing tips for using all those tasty, flavorful Florida blueberries at the Blueberries from Florida website.