Picking Your Own

fresh strawberries

While everyone has enough room to plant a little windowsill collection of herbs at home, not all of us are lucky enough to have space for a full garden, let alone an orchard or a farm. Growing and picking our own fruits and vegetables is not always a viable option. There are alternatives to packing up and moving out to where farm space is affordable. One is to frequent farmers markets and try to develop relationships with suppliers. Another is to pay a visit to a Pick Your Own farm, where you can walk through the fields/orchards and pick your choice of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

The question here is why on earth would you want to go out and pick your own fruits and veggies when you can much more easily head to the nearest market and pick some up? There are many answers to this question. Some will tell you that it’s fun, which it is. It is also a good experience to have especially if you have kids and want to give them a hands-on illustration of where food comes from. Both are true. It can also be less expensive than going to a store or farmers market since you’re paying the farmer directly and no travel is involved. Plus, it gives you a chance to pick as much fruit as you want or need. You’ll never get something fresher than a peach, blueberry or other fruit that you pull off the vine yourself.

Early in the summer, strawberry picking is pretty popular out here in southern California because there are tons of strawberry farms just north of Los Angeles, in and around Ventura County. The Pick Your Own website lists farms in every state that you can pay a visit to to pick your own. The farms’ contact information is given, as well as information about the crops you can pick there and when they’re in season. Most farms specialize in one or two crops, from blackberries to pumpkins, and are only open part of the year. A few branch out from fruits and veggies into other things, letting you select anything from a live Christmas tree to a live organic chicken for dinner.

4 comments

  1. Another reason to pick-your-own is that you get to try varieties that don’t travel well. I used to frequent a local u-pick (no longer around :( ) who carried the world’s sweetest strawberries, too fragile to send to market. Even some of the ones I carted home were slightly squished. But the taste! They never made it into recipes, we just ate them straight out of our containers.

  2. i love having my oun herbs and fruits. unfortunatelly i live in a 4*4 appartment. only basil survives. my local arbotoreum has plots for $50 a month.. im on the list

  3. I went strawberry picking for the first time this past Independence Day weekend. It was so much fun, but so much hard work as well. I hadn’t quite anticipated how much crouching and bending over to get the ripe sweet berries would be, but the fruits of my labor (literally!) were so worth it!

  4. As someone who picked many strawberries, cherries and plums from a big garden growing up, I’m perfectly happy to go to my local farmers market and pay someone to pick them for me. I get great local produce, and I support the people who are growing the food.

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