For many families, the summer months mean eating fresh fruits and vegetables from their gardens. We are NOT that family. Even if I managed to evict the weeds surrounding our house and plant something, I would surely forget to water everything. And I shudder at the thought of all those fresh veggies becoming my inevitable charred creations.
Lucky for me, there are these wonderful places called farms. Local farms allow those of us without the slightest green in our thumbs to teach our children about where food comes from and even harvest fresh food with our families. For these reasons, and because I find it amusing to have my children do work and call it “fun,” we try to visit a local Upick every summer.
Strawberry season is nearly upon us so if your home garden isn’t looking quite like the educational opportunity you’d hoped for, now is a great time to pack up the kids and head out to a local farm.
Our family favorite is Pleasant Valley Orchard in Shafer. The staff there are incredibly helpful and the strawberries are delicious! If you’re not up for a little road trip or just prefer something a little closer Twin Cities Moms Blog has a list just for you: Berry Picking in the Twin Cities.
If this is your first U-pick experience, there are a few things you can learn from my mistakes:
1. As with any outing, get your kids to use the bathroom before you leave the house. Farm bathrooms are frequently port-a-johns and very spread out.
2. Go early in the morning! The same sun that ripens the berries will wither your children pretty quickly in the hot afternoon.
3. Bring water (see above).
4. Have breakfast before you go. You know what they say about grocery shopping on an empty stomach, I learned this one 10 lbs of strawberries too late.
5. Eat some of whatever you pick before you get home. There’s nothing quite as good as a strawberry (or insert your favorite pickable here) right off the vine.
6. Pick out some recipes and make a plan for your harvest ahead of time. Trying to plan after picking always leaves some of our bounty unused.
7. Make something to share. Picking your own food and then giving it to someone else makes Upick a twofer on the good parent achievement chart. (And I won’t argue if the someone you decide to share with is me.)