There’s no question that buying produce during the winter is pricey and that the selection is often lacking. A pick your own farm might be the answer to the problem. Scattered throughout the country, these farms allow you to pick as much as you can carry and take it home. Most open in the late summer or early fall at the height of the harvest season. Not only can you haul home pounds and pounds of healthy food, but many farms feature fun activities for kids, including rides, crafts, or tasty snacks. Make a day of it and your whole family will be happy.
Finding a farm
If you’re new to the pick your own craze, you might wonder how to find one near you. Fortunately, PickYourOwn.org is here to save the day. Simply access the website, pick your state and city, and you’ll get a list of nearby farms that allow visitors to load up on food. The site even offers lists of farms in other countries, if you happen to be on vacation or visiting relatives. Word of mouth is another great way to find a farm. Ask your friends if they’ve ever been, and chances are you’ll find someone with a recommendation.
How they work
Procedure varies among pick your own farms, but in general, you’ll be provided with bags or baskets and can fill them with whatever produce you want. Some farms charge a general admission fee while others charge by the amount of food you take home. Farms that offer other events and activities might charge separately for them. You might see a snack bar, a pumpkin patch , or a bouncy castle for kids. Some farms feature picnic tables so you can pack a lunch and stay all day.
What you can pick
Your location plays a large role in the items available at pick your own farms. You’re likely to find berries, apples , squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, and tomatoes in many parts of the country. In other places, you might find herbs, citrus fruits, and avocados. Lettuce, corn, beans, cucumbers, and melons are other foods you might see. Check with your local farm for a list of what’s available.
Besides the deliciousness of fresh farm produce, there are many benefits to pick your own farms. You’ll be able to talk to farmers and learn more about how they grow their food. Many of these farms use organic growing practices, which reduces your risk of exposure to chemical pesticides. At the same time, it can be very economical to stock up on summer and fall foods, if you know how to can and pickle foods to eat in the future. This can save you lots of money in the winter because you won’t have to shell out big bucks for out-of-season produce.
Pick your own farms aren’t unknown, so expect to encounter other people vying for the produce on the farm. Get there early for the best selection and to choose your food before the weather gets too hot, as it might in the and late summer and early fall. Most farms provide containers for your food, but it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own, just in case.