By Lauri Gross
Don’t let summer go by without visiting a local blueberry farm for picking, but also for the peacefulness and enjoyment this simple activity brings. Whether you make it a solitary outing, an afternoon with a friend, or a group effort, not much can compare with spending a few hours among the bushes with a bucket in one hand and a mind free to wander as you soak in the sunshine. When the first berry plinks into your empty bucket, your plan to pick enough berries to fill a fat pie may seem overly optimistic. But soon, you’ll fall into a rhythm of picking as you tune into the birds singing, focus on the summertime breeze and listen to the chatter of nearby pickers.
Then, you’ll feel disconnected from your life beyond the berries while totally connected to the picking itself. Pick a handful or a bucketful. Either way, be sure to savor some berries while they’re still warm from the sun (after rinsing them off at home), as you decide what to do with the rest. Bake them into pies, muffins, bread or pancakes or freeze some for later. The trick is to make the berries last as long as your sweet memories of the berry-picking itself. Berry picking is usually available all through July and sometimes into early August. Here are some local farms that offer berry picking.
Baumhart Berry Farm
2200 Baumhart Road, Vermilion, 440.984.0141
Visit this farm for your meal, your dessert and your centerpiece: You can pick your own blueberries, plus your own vegetables and flowers. Closer to August, there will also be blackberries to pick. And, visit the farm’s store for snacks, drinks and ice-cream treats. More at BaumhartBerryFarm.com.
Blue Jay Orchard
17909 Rapids Road, Hiram, 440.834.4318
Pick your own blueberries and then come back in the fall to pick apples and enjoy sweet cider made onsite. Plus, there’s local honey all season long. The blueberry selection includes early, mid and late-season varieties for an evolving supply of blueberry choices through mid-August. Visitors can also grab a pint or two of berries already picked. New this season, the Orchard has two beautiful short-term rental cottages available. More at BlueJayOrchard.com.
The Greenfield Berry Farm
2485 Major Road, Peninsula, 330.57-2924
Pick your own blueberries, aronia berries, and sunflowers at this farm also known for its honey and pussy willows. They also offer memberships in their CSA and the farm is popular for field trips and educational farm tours (click “events” on their website). For up-to-date berry-picking info, follow Greenfield Berry Farm on FB. More at GreenfieldBerryFarm.com.
Nirosky’s Morning Star Farm
8438 Slagle Road, Windham, 216.403.1159
Pick your own blueberries at this farm, or call ahead and place an order to have the farm team pick berries for you. Also, purchase their honey and beef or schedule a farm tour for your school or other group to see all their animals including chickens, ducks, donkeys and cows.More at MorningStarFarm.net
11391 Franks Road, Auburn Township, 440-834-4240
Here you can pick your own blueberries and currants and also purchase the farm’s other offerings, including a wide variety of produce, herbs, and maple syrup made from trees on the farm. There’s also meat from chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, quail, rabbits, cows and goats free of hormones and antibiotics. More at VoytkoFarms.com.
Wintergreen Tree Farm
5713 Allyn Road, Mantua, 330-221-3835
When picking blueberries at this farm in July, please call ahead to confirm the schedule. Then, come back in the fall for fresh chestnuts and right after Thanksgiving, bring the family to find your Christmas tree from their extensive selection. More at WintergreenTreeFarmOhio.com.
Northeast Ohio farms offer pick-your-own-berry days for summer fun, snacking
By Lauri Gross