Gardening is back in style, but not everyone has the room or the time for a garden. If you don’t have a garden of your own, you can still pick fresh fruits and vegetables. More and more small farms, the types of farms that often practice sustainable farming techniques and limit the usage of chemical pesticides, are inviting customers to come to the farm and pick right from the fields.
You can get the freshest, local, seasonal produce when you pick your own. It’s a great activity to do with children because it helps them to get to understand that food doesn’t really come from the grocery store. There’s dirt and hard work involved in growing food. But, kids aren’t necessary. Sometimes its fun to go out and hand pick each and every apple, peach or strawberry that’s going to become one of the best tasting pies or some sweetest jam you’ve ever had.
To find a pick your own farm in your area, PickYourOwn.org makes it really easy. From their website you can search your state or your county for farms that allow you to come in and pick your own. You can even easily pick out organic farms because they are highlighted in green. You’ll also find information about what’s in season right now.
If you decide to give picking your own food straight from the farm a chance, here are some tips.
• Go early in the morning when the sun isn’t so high. Fields can get very hot during the day, and you’ll enjoy the experience more if your not hurrying through it to get out of the heat.
• Wear a hat with a brim if you’re concerned about too much sun on your face.
• Bring water in a reusable water bottle to drink while you’re in the fields.
• Take your own container. Most pick your own farms will weigh the container before you begin picking so that when they weigh your final tally, you won’t pay for the weight of your container. Most places will have containers for sale, but welcome your own containers, too. If your taking kids along, give them small beach buckets for their picking.
• Don’t treat the fields like a buffet. Many farms don’t mind if you eat a berry or two while your picking, but that should be the extent. Every piece of fruit or vegetable you eat comes at the farm's expense.
• Have some idea before you go for how you’ll use your bounty when you get it home. That way you’ll pick enough for all you want to make.