Berry picking can be fun for the whole family and good for you too! Summer is the season of produce abundance and variety. With the sun at its peak, fruits and vegetables are ripening on vines, just waiting for us to pick them. We won't find a juicier tomato, a crunchier cucumber or a sweeter, plump blueberry than one that we pick ourselves.
Berry season is currently at, or nearing its peak, here in the United States. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are natures super health food. When they are picked fresh at their peak, they can be as sweet as candy, so kids love them
Here are six tips you may want to consider to make your picking a success:
1. Find berry farms that grow organically. Google is probably the easiest way to find an organic berry farm near you. If you are going to pick, pick the best quality. Strawberries top the Dirty Dozen list of fruits and veggies most laden with pesticides, so it is especially important to try and find those organically grown.
2. Pick enough to freeze for the winter. Frozen berries come in handy all year; pies for Thanksgiving, added into a morning smoothy, or healthy muffins. Think like a squirrel, gather them up and store them in the freezer now while they are at their best.
3. Pick first thing in the morning. Berries ripen when the sun is at its peak so try and get to the farm as early as possible because it can get hot. Standing in the hot sun can leave one dehydrated so bring water as well. Don't forget the sunscreen and a sunhat. If you are bringing elderly people with you, consider bringing a folding chair so they can sit and pick.
4. Take your time, enjoy the zen. Try and go when you are not in a rush. Berry picking can be a mindfulness activity. Finding yourself alone in a row, just focusing on selecting the ripened berries, while the birds chirp nearby, can be very relaxing. Soak it up.
5. Listen for recipe tips. Eventually, you may find yourself next to some other pickers. It is not unusual to end up being privy to some funny conversations. If you're lucky, you may end up near some great cooks who love to chat about how they make the perfect piecrust or jam.
6. Taste some berries, but refrain from gobbling them down. Generally speaking, farmers are thrilled to see the public come and enjoy their hard work. They understand the fruit is very tempting and we may want to sample what we are buying. Keep in mind, though; it took a lot of sweat and investment to grow these crops. Gather your berries, pay for them and then indulge if you want to.
Have fun out there! If you do go, take a picture and tag me in your post @TheNatureNurse. I would love to see what you harvest.
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Step outside and feel the ahhh...