U-pick Farms Do you have any in your area? Are they worth it? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 06-26-2013, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone ever done these? There is one for corn near me, but that's about it.  I've always wondered how people find out about them? And if they are worth it? Any insight? 


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#2 of 18 Old 06-26-2013, 11:01 AM
 
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u-pick farms are awesome!

 

I love not only the fresh picked fruit but the experience of picking my own. (I've done blueberries, peaches, strawberries and raspberries) and the prices are better than the farmer market.

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#3 of 18 Old 06-26-2013, 11:26 AM
 
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I have several that are local.  The closest does blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.  BUT the prices are more expensive than the grocery store.  I haven't found it worth it.  Yeah the crops aren't GMO but they are still sprayed AND they are no cheaper.  If my kids were city kids with no farms around or kids who didn't know where food comes from or kids without a large garden, it might be worth it to take them and let them experience picking your own food.  But that's not the case for us.  Seems silly to pay more AND have to pick it yourself when it's not better quality.


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#4 of 18 Old 06-26-2013, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sativarain, how did you find out about them? 


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#5 of 18 Old 06-26-2013, 02:26 PM
 
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We have lots of u-pick farms in my area. The problem is they are really $$$. I can get a bit better in price at the Farmer's market plus it is already picked. 


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#6 of 18 Old 06-26-2013, 02:38 PM
 
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We had a good experience picking blueberries - the per-pound price was much cheaper than what we could get at any store or farmers' market in the city. It was a fun day w/ friends, too. We ended up picking about 20 lbs. and froze it all for the fall/winter. Yum!
 

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#7 of 18 Old 06-26-2013, 03:49 PM
 
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There are several organic farms in our county that have u-pick.  We go many times over the summer.  We meet friends and make an outting of it by bringing a picnic lunch.  The kids LOVE it!  Most of the places are on an honor system and just have a box to leave your money.  By the pound it is slightly cheaper than the farmers market or grocery store.

 

You can find a spot near you on this website:

 

http://www.pickyourown.org/

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#8 of 18 Old 06-26-2013, 04:07 PM
 
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We have quite a few - some are worth it to me and some are not.

 

We have a great organic blueberry farm about 45minutes away.  We pick some and then I buy ~40 pounds of prepicked frozen and they last us until the next season - it's worth the trip to me since it is less expensive than buying organic berries at the store or through UNFI. 

 

We have one organic strawberry farm near but it is very small and they lost their crop last year because of freaky weather and I am afraid they didn't re-open this year.  So unfortunately I am stuck buying frozen organic strawberries.  I do not bother with the non-organic strawberry or apple orchards near us but a lot of people around here love them.  We have no organic apple orchards in the area.

 

We grow our own pears, apples and blackberries and there is a small Upick raspberry patch in town.  I buy a couple of bushels of peaches from a local farmer but I do not pick them myself even though it is an option.  The peaches are sprayed with chemicals but I cannot find organic in our area and they are so much better than the peaches purchased at the store.  After eating the local fresh peaches, we no longer like store bought.

 

Regarding how to find the farms...In our area, each county puts out a list of farms, what they offer, the growing season, etc.  It can be found at the county tourism office or probably online.

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#9 of 18 Old 06-26-2013, 04:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragana View Post

We had a good experience picking blueberries - the per-pound price was much cheaper than what we could get at any store or farmers' market in the city. It was a fun day w/ friends, too. We ended up picking about 20 lbs. and froze it all for the fall/winter. Yum!
 

Ragana,

I see you are in Chicago.   Is there an organic blueberry farm in the Chicago area?  (I live in between Chicago and Mishawaka and wasn't sure what was available in IL.)  I go to this farm.  It is a bit of a drive for you, but it is the only organic blueberry farm in Indiana.

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#10 of 18 Old 06-27-2013, 03:40 AM
 
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We have various u-pick farms for fruits around here, like strawberries and blueberries.  While I do like that, I only do blueberries in summer and apples in fall.  They're all at least 1/2 hour's drive away so I get at least 10 lbs at a time.  Apples can be kept for a long time, I also make apple butter.  Blueberries are easily frozen and used later for baking or pancakes.  Other fruit don't keep well, and we don't like to eat them frozen.  I'd say they're mostly for fun only if you just plan to eat them. (Besides some of the farms have petting zoo, bouncy castle and all sorts of stuff.)  However if you do eat frozen fruit, use them in smoothies, cereals, or make jam, they can be great for saving money (while using the best fresh ingredients).

 

*I myself don't like fruit very much.  Fresh fruit tend to get rotten instead of eaten in my home.  It's the veggies that get eaten up.


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#11 of 18 Old 06-28-2013, 06:01 AM
 
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Ragana,

I see you are in Chicago.   Is there an organic blueberry farm in the Chicago area?  (I live in between Chicago and Mishawaka and wasn't sure what was available in IL.)  I go to this farm.  It is a bit of a drive for you, but it is the only organic blueberry farm in Indiana.


Thanks for the tip! I didn't know there was an organic place! That time we drove to Michigan to pick - it was a two-hour drive, but I can't remember the name of the farm. In the summer we regularly drive 2-3 hours to get to friends' summer places, so we're used to it. PS I lived in Elkhart for a while as a kid.


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#12 of 18 Old 06-29-2013, 07:33 PM
 
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There is a good apple one near us- about an hour and a half away maybe 2.  I found that is about the same if not cheaper than the ones in the stores and these are organic.  I try to get 40 or so lbs and make apple sauce and dry apples for winter and spring


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#13 of 18 Old 06-29-2013, 07:54 PM
 
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I love our local u-pick places. 
I've kind of ferreted out the ones I do and don't like, who's overpriced and who's not, what's worth buying at the farmer's market vs. driving an hour to a u-pick place with four kids, etc.  Just takes time to find/figure out, and I have no qualms sharing my experiences with ladies in my mom's groups that are new to the area.  Local u-pick strawberries, fully ripe! (unlike the ones at Costco that are still a third white) are much, much less than even Costco.  And taste fabulous.  I have yet to have someone reject a jar of my homemade jam (that doesn't have dyes or HFCS).  ;) 

But that said, I'm not a strict organic-only person.  If I can find organic in my budget, rock on.  Otherwise, I just talk with the growers/farmers, make sure I'm okay with their growing practices, and carry on.  That expensive green sticker means nothing to me, really (other than those folks must spend a fair amount of time on paperwork). 


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#14 of 18 Old 06-30-2013, 08:50 AM
 
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In my area, u-pick costs about the same as the stand, often at the same farm. We go once or twice a month to the farm stands in the agricultural area about 30 or 40 miles from town, and get cases of whatever is in season for canning and freezing. If I had little ones, I might do u-pick for the experience, but not for frugality. Farmer's markets in town are way overpriced, and don't sell what I need anyway. 12 varieties of exotic mushrooms, but no lettuce or green beans. Beautiful purple, yellow and red carrots, but no plain orange ones. I don't mean seasonal variation - they are selling to an upscale crunchy/gourmet crowd, when I just want the basics of daily cooking. The best deals on produce around here are the dedicated produce markets. A full shopping cart of whatever catches my eye generally costs around $30-40, and feeds us for a week or so, including food for vegan BigGirl and very active 17 year old YoungSon. One produce market has the best prices on bulk rice, legumes, and nuts. The various ethnic markets (Asian, Eastern European, or Latin American in my neighborhood) offer specialty produce, as well as basics, and interesting imported canned food and spices.

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#15 of 18 Old 06-30-2013, 09:20 PM
 
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It is a fun and valuable experience for the kids but no, no not from an economic perspective. 

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#16 of 18 Old 07-01-2013, 03:11 PM
 
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We loved picking blueberries for the second year in a row a few months ago. I'm not sure how my in-laws found out about it. I don't know how the price compared to the stores' because I don't usually pay attention to the price of the organic food I put in the cart, I'm just happy to find organic. The owners were pretty laid back and they let us eat a few (more than a few for our toddler daughter) as we picked.

 

Besides the resources other ladies offered already in this discussion, another way of finding out is driving by and seeing a sign. I live north of Tampa, Florida and driving between our house and my in-laws', I saw signs for two or three different u-pick farms, including one blackberry and one organic blackberry farm. If you can afford it and you have things to put the produce in (for example, my crockpot cracked but it is still together enough that I put at least a pound of blueberries in it), I highly recommend taking your children and picking some good food to bring home.


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#17 of 18 Old 07-01-2013, 05:38 PM
 
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We just picked raspberries today. The price isn't any better but is local food and my kids love it. Time outside, conversations about where food comes from, etc. Of course we aren't directly charged for the berries the kids eat either.

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#18 of 18 Old 07-01-2013, 09:27 PM
 
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The Portland Metro has lots of upick places. Usually it is cheaper than going to the store and buying there. Even when it isn't though I still prefer to go pick it myself. It's fresher and they usually carry varieties of things like apples that you just can't get at Safeway. Also it's a little more fun than just going to the store so I kind of takes care of entertainment as well.
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