If you follow my blog you know I wrote a post about my summer wishlist, to-do list, bucket list, whatever you want to call it. If you haven’t read the post click here to find out the 20 things I want to do this summer.
In the post I talk about wanting make use of the berry farms near where I live and then make some jam with the local produce. Last week I did just that. I did some research on local berry farms, found one that still had strawberries, got my sister and went berry picking. We chose Boones Ferry Berry Farms as our destination because they still had a few variety of strawberries available and as a bonus they had raspberries! When we got there we found out they had blueberries, blackberries, marionberries, boysenberries and loganberries too! I was berry much in heaven (haha). If you live in Oregon and visit the Willamette Valley during berry season you should definitely go and pick some!
When we got to the farm it was a little chilly and looked like it might rain (see clouds above) but the weather held out and even got a little warm! We went to the farm on a Wednesday and while we were not the only people at the farm, we were the only people picking strawberries. It was kind of nice being out there all alone with nothing but berry bushes, trees and the sky.
At first we were having some difficulty finding berries because the fields closest to the parking lot had been picked over pretty good. But then we found our sweet spot and were able to fill up our five containers was no trouble at all. When I contacted the farm to make sure they had strawberries they told me we would be picking the Sweet Ann variety. I am not positive that is what we picked, but this is what they looked like.
Picking strawberries is fun because the big green leaves hide the little juicy fruits, so when you pull pack the leaves its like finding gold when you see the ripe berries! One thing that really stood out to me was the size of the berries. These berries are not the giants you get in the stores. These were petite and sweet. But while picking my sister and I couldn’t help thinking of one of my favorite books from childhood, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. If you haven’t read it, at least look at it for the illustrations. The picture of the mouse and berry in disguise is on point. While picking berries I wasn’t worried about big hungry bears, but coming across a snake crossed my mind. Luckily no snakes were lurking under any of the bushes I picked from. The scariest thing we came across were some pokey thistles.
The other thing that surprised me was the amount of berries that were just sitting there, rotten on the plant. I mean, it makes total sense, if you don’t go out there to pick them at the exact right time, berries turn to mush. But on the strawberry plants we had in our garden growing up I don’t think many berries even made it to all the way ripe, let alone rotten on the plant. So I felt good about being out there picking berries, at least we knew these little beauts wouldn’t rot on the vine.
Once we had our buckets full we put them in the adorable wagon they had on site and went to buy some more containers in the farm store. It was raspberry picking time.
We picked raspberries and then headed over to the blackberry/marionberry/boisenberry/loganberry section of the farm. I’ll admit we just taste tested the rows to see which ones we wanted. Loganberries and bosenberries weren’t ready (sour). I don’t think we tried marionberries because once we tasted the blackberries we just started picking. They were big and juicy. Yum. Quickly we had filled the six small containers we had purchased for a whopping $1.00 and with our juice stained hands we pulled the wagon back to the farm store. It was time to see how many pounds of berries we had picked.
The kind lady at the farm store had pre-weighed our containers so checking out was a breeze. This wagon load of berries was $22. You can’t beat that! We picked about 6 lbs of strawberries, 3 pounds of raspberries and 1.5 pounds of blackberries. When we went to the store to get some rhubarb after picking, the berries at the store ranged in price from $3-$6.99 for small containers! Our manual labor saved us a pretty penny.
Even though my hands were stained (and still are a little bit under my nails) this was such a fun summer outing. I have a feeling I will be doing this again. Even though we had tons of berries leftover after making jam (more on that in a later post) I have tons of ideas for ways to use the frozen berries stored in my freezer and know I will want more when berries aren’t in season any longer. If you have the chance I say, go pick some berries!
Until next time,
I love you more than wagon towing and strawberry hulling,