Berry picking is one of the best summertime pastimes for families. Everyone will enjoy picking vividly coloured, sweet-smelling treasures such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries off bushes, shrubs, and vines, as well as the less well-known but nonetheless gorgeous boysenberries, gooseberries, and currants. It is important to consider all aspects before you go to a berry farm in MN.
We will share our top PYO (pick-your-own) success tips.
Go early in the morning:
The early bird gets the worm (or in this case, the berries)! The berries will be fresher and more abundant early in the day. Coming in the middle of the day means more crowds, searing sun, and a selection of fruit that has been somewhat picked over. Before you decide to go to a berry farm in MN, call the orchard you wish to visit; the weather can have a significant impact on the crops and picking conditions, or even prevent a farm from opening that day. And remember to wear the proper equipment. Even in partially shaded areas, you should always wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
Determine When Berries Are in Season:
The optimal time to harvest berries varies by area, so contact a local farm for assistance and to ensure you go at the proper time. Strawberries are typically the first fruit to be ready for picking, and they are at their optimum from early June to early July. From early July until mid-August, blueberries are ripe for harvesting. Raspberries are typically at their peak from late August to mid-October, making them one of the final berries to arrive.
Choose the best:
Strawberries do not ripen once removed from the plant, so only pick berries that are completely red; any green spots will not turn red once picked. The texture of blueberries and blackberries should be firm, but raspberries should not be mushy. The tastiest red raspberries will be extremely pigmented, so keep an eye out for their intense hue. If you intend to make berry preserves or jammy pies, inquire if the farm sells imperfect berries at a reduced price (many do!). These recipes are the optimal way to utilise imperfect vegetables.
Most farms and orchards charge for berries in one of two ways: either tourists purchase a particular size of basket for a set fee and fill it with as many berries as possible, or they charge a certain price per pound, meaning you'll pay based on the weight of the berries you've selected. Oftentimes, you may purchase pre-picked berries at the farm's market for varying prices and sizes.
Carrying and Cleaning Berries:
Selecting the appropriate container will prevent you from crushing your newly gathered berries. Due to the delicate nature of berries, it is advisable to layer them as little as possible. Your berries will be best secured in a shallow, rectangular basket, as opposed to the square variety you might purchase in a grocery shop. After you bring the berries home, swiftly dip them in a basin containing a mixture of water and distilled white vinegar in the proportion of 3:1. The vinegar will prevent the growth of mould. Make sure to completely but carefully dry the berries with a towel, as excess moisture might hasten decomposition. If you will not utilise all of the berries within a few days, freeze them in a single layer to prevent them from clumping.
Carry these items along.
Usually, a U-Pick location will say if baskets or bags are available and how much they cost. This can also depend on the size of the basket or bag.If not, it is important to find out if you need to bring your own, and it doesn't hurt to have one or two baskets in the car just in case. Jars, buckets, and Tupperware will also suffice, so long as the berries will not be squished together. Consider lining the bottom of a classic wicker basket with tissue paper or paper towels in the event that some of the berries are more delicate than others.
If the driving trip is lengthy, a cooler is practically required. Freshly selected berries are significantly more perishable than those purchased from a grocery store. The easiest way to maintain their freshness until they can be placed in the refrigerator (or consumed!) is to keep them cool. A throwaway cooler and an ice pack should be sufficient for this purpose. Berry pickers should also consider the apparel they are wearing. Long pants or tall socks, lightweight long-sleeve shirts, and sturdy walking shoes are also wise choices. Berries grow in bushes and are frequently unregulated in terms of any brambles they may have; while they may be more maintained on a farm, it is better to be safe than scratched!
Berry picking is enjoyable, but if you plan to collect a large quantity of berries, you could be occupied for hours; therefore, you need to be prepared.
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