One of the best parts about summer is the sweet, delicious taste of fresh berries. Once you’ve had a warm, sun-ripened berry at the peak of its freshness, it is hard to go back to those store-bought facsimiles.
If you have never been berry picking, you are in for a treat! Plan a trip for you and your kids. You will get to spend some quality time in nature with your favorites kiddos, and you will get to go home with tons of fresh berries. Trust us; the hardest part will be trying to figure out what to do with all of that delicious fruit.
Berry picking in Minnesota is an excellent way to enjoy the great outdoors with your family. Twin Cities Kids Club is here with a list of the best places to pick your own berries. Plus, we will talk about some things to remember on your outing and what to do with all those delicious berries once you get them home.
Best Twin Cities places for U-pick
Keep reading for a list of the best U-pick places in the general twin cities areas. We recommend that you call ahead to check each farm’s availability before you go.
Pick your own strawberries and raspberries starting in mid-June.
You will only find strawberries here.
Pick your own certified organic blueberries starting in mid-July.
Pick your own strawberries, raspberries, and a variety of berries starting in June.
Pick your own strawberries starting in June.
Pick your own strawberries starting in June.
Pick your own strawberries in June; raspberries and blueberries in July.
Pick your own strawberries in June. They have fall raspberries that begin in early August.
Call ahead; they have limited availability of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
Pick your own raspberries in August.
Check out this harvest calendar for a better idea of freshest produce throughout the year.
I’m ready to go, now what?
If you properly prepare, berry picking with your kids can be a fun and relaxing experience. For a complete checklist of every little thing you need to survive an outdoor outing, check out our preparing for nature list.
Before you go berry picking, you should always call ahead. Here are the questions you need to be answered before you head out to the farm.
- What is their current availability? Do they still have the fruit or berry that you are trying to pick on that day? Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances occur that will prevent you from picking that perfect berry.
- When do they expect the biggest crowds? They might not know, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Do they have wagons available? If they don’t, ask if you can bring your own. It is also a good idea to ask if they have hayrides
- Is there food and water available. Hopefully, they have water free for you to fill up your own bottles. Some places will have concession stands or food trucks. It is good to know ahead of time, so you know what to pack.
- Do they have baskets available? Most places will have buckets or baskets available, but you will likely have to leave them behind when you leave. Many sites will let you bring your own, just ask.
It would be best if you planned on staying long enough to eat lunch. Often, you have to walk a long way to the berry patch, and you don’t want to rush the experience.
When you do finally arrive at your berry picking destination, follow these tips and tricks to find the best and ripest berries.
- Look for berries that are plump, tender and bright in color
- Only pick the berries that you can easily separate from their stems
- Keep in mind that berries, unlike some other fruits, don’t generally ripen after you pick them. In other words, they won’t get any sweeter than they are the moment you pick them.
- Go at the peak of the season. Strawberries are best in mid to late June, raspberries in august, and blueberries in September.
If you keep these hints in mind, you should leave the farm with a ton of fresh and delicious berries.
But what do I do with all these berries?
The berries that you plan to eat in the next few days should be stored unwashed in the refrigerator. Spread your berries out in one layer. If you heap them in a mound, the berries on the bottom will be crushed and will spoil faster.
Strawberries and blueberries are slightly heartier. They will last in the fridge for as many as five days. Raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, and marionberries will be best if eaten within three days.
Don’t wash your berries until you are ready to eat them. Strawberries are the only berries that can stand to be washed with running water. For every other berry, place the fruit in the colander and dunk them in cold water to avoid crushing them.
You should pat all berries dry with a cloth or paper towel before you eat them. Be careful, they are delicate, and you can easily crush the fragile fruit.
For the berries you will not be eating or using right away, it is best to freeze them. The best freezing method is to spread them out on a baking sheet. Freeze the berries fully before transferring them to bags or storage containers.
If you want to make your life easier, weigh or measure out the berries as you transfer them and right the amount on the container. This simple step will save you time in the future.
Take our advice and take your kids berry picking as soon as you can. Not only will you make memories that will last a lifetime, but you will also have delicious berries to eat for weeks or months to come.
Don’t forget to join the Twin Cities Kids Club for all the best deals and discounts for family fun in the Twin Cities.