Picking Berries – Building Relationships

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here are lots of reasons to pick your own berries…you can get $50.00 worth of berries for $10.00, the berries taste better because they’re picked at the peak of their flavor, it’s relaxing…. I could go on and on. But one of the best reasons to pick your own berries is because it’s a great way to strengthen your relationship with your kids.

It’s a bit of an adventure at first, then it becomes a wonderful family tradition. Getting to know your kids, or letting them get to know you is a lifelong journey. And most of the time it happens in the quiet moments. When you go berry picking, there are the conversations that happen in the car on the way to the farm, the stories told and the jokes shared. Those things just don’t happen as much when you’re racing from one activity to the next during the week. But there is also something peaceful that happens to you when you’re confronted with the crisp morning air and rows and rows of berries still cool from the night and bursting with flavor.

If you’ve found the right berry farm, you can eat as you pick which is all part of the fun and the picking will be easy because the berries are so plentiful. Often, in as little as an hour, your stomach will be full and so will your berry basket. Take some time to get to know the farmer and staff. Introduce your kids, talk to your fellow pickers and swap recipes. My row mate (the person in the row next to mine) was a woman who made strawberry wine every year and had for years. She said they always share it with friends and family and there’s never enough to go around.

Once you’ve picked your fill, the relationship building potential of berry picking extends to the shortcake making, pie baking and jamming that happens when you get home. Turn on some music, heat up the jars and whip up a batch of strawberry freezer jam. It takes minutes to make and will be a magical burst of summer when you pull it out of the freezer during a January snowstorm. There really is no comparison between the jam you get in the store and the freezer jam recipe below. So take some time this summer and get to know each other through berries!

Here are some tips for finding a good berry picking farm:

  1. Do a Google search for “pick your own berries”
  2. Find a couple of farms close by.
  3. Be sure and call ahead to make sure the berries are ripe
  4. Tell the Farmer you’ll be canning so you want to come when the crop is at its peak.
  5. Ask if you are allowed to eat as you pick. (an essential in my opinion)
  6. Ask your friends on Facebook if anyone knows of a good place to pick your own berries.
  7. Arrive early before it gets crowded and hot.

Rough Seasonal Chart for Berry Picking:

Early Spring: Strawberries
Early Summer: Blueberries
Mid Summer: Red Raspberries, BlackBerries, Black Raspberries
Fall: Red Raspberries (fall variety)

Berry Freezer Jam Recipe

(Strawberry is a favorite in our family.)
4 cups berries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 packet freezer jam pectin
  1. In a large bowl, mash the berries (the kids love this part)
  2. Mix in the pectin and sugar together until well combined.  Stir mixture for 3 minutes.
  3. Ladle into clean, 8oz jam jars, leaving 1/2″ at the top as it expands when it freezes.  Put the lids on and let the jars sit  30 minutes before you put them in the freezer.
Jam keeps several weeks in the fridge or up to one year in the freezer. Makes Five – 8 oz. Jars
Please feel free to share other recipes or berry picking tips with our readers. We are always looking for something new.
Happy Picking!

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