Saturday, May 7, 2011

“U” Is for U-Picks


U-Picks are usually family run farms that allow members of the general public to come in and pick their own fruits and vegetables for a fee. Many offer their wares, already picked by others, at a somewhat higher fee.
The benefits of getting your produce from a u-pick are many. There is the benefit of supporting a local farmer and helping your local economy, always a good thing in my book. Then there’s the benefit of seeing where the product was grown, being able to ask questions about how it was grown and the sheer pleasure of the hunt as you forage through the leaves searching for that perfect berry or apple.
You can pick your fruits and vegetables at the peak of ripeness, directly from the plant and rush home to can, freeze or dehydrate it. How much fresher can you get? Naturally, you should buy enough so that you can enjoy some fresh, too!
Another important benefit of u-picks is that you can get fruits and vegetables that you might not be able to grow on your own. A blueberry farm for example needs very acidic soil, something most plants don’t like. In order to grow enough blueberries, that would all ripen at the same time so that you could preserve enough for your family, you would need a large area of acidic soil. Depending on where you live, this is probably not practical. If it is, you probably can’t grow much of anything else. Buying from a u-pick lets you grow what you can and buy what you can’t. It’s the best of both worlds.
What kinds of products can you find? Mostly fruits like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Apples, peaches and pears are also common. Pumpkins and squash are common in the fall. Some areas are blessed with a wider assortment of choices. How do you find them? PickYourOwn.org helps people find u-picks in their area. It is organized by state, then by county.
Take some time to get familiar with what’s available in your area, the season in which it will be ripe and available to pick and start planning your food preservation schedule now.

3 comments:

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

I pick strawberries myself, but for apples, we go to orchard stores and get 2nds for dirt cheap! Love it!

The Write Soil

Sandy said...

Haven't done this in ages. We used to pick apples in the fall, but somehow time never seem to allow that anymore.
Sandy
z-a

Joyce Lansky said...

I always loved picking our own fruits. We used to go apple picking when I was younger, but I haven't been in a very long time.

Joyce
http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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