Berry Picking for Beginners
Picking berries is a fun, cost effective way to gather ingredients for pies, cobblers, pastries, beverages, freezing, and fresh eating. Whether an individual is going to a “u-pick” berry farm or to a field with a wild patch of berries, it’s important to prepare for the trip out so that he or she stays comfortable, hydrated, and protected against nature’s little surprises.
Planning for the Berry Season
Different types of berries will mature during different months or seasons, depending upon the gardening zone that applies to the local area. For example, strawberries that mature in March in Florida might mature in June in Michigan. Strawberries are also among the earliest fruits to mature, while blueberries follow shortly after; blackberries tend to ripen during the early summer. Call local berry farms to determine an accurate local date for berry harvesting.
Wearing Proper Clothing
Berry farms might use pesticides and very well manicured garden beds on their properties, leading to a lower risk of ticks or snakes. However, this will be a concern for wild berry patches. Always wear thick leather boots, heavy denim jeans, and thick tube socks when picking berries. The best quality hoodies are perfect for thorny varieties of raspberries and blackberries too, as they will help to protect the chest, arms, and stomach from the prickly briars.
Always Bring Gloves and Buckets
Berry picking can be particularly messy. Berries may have insects on them, so do not store them in pockets; always use a bucket. Berries may also have fresh wounds from insect damage, or they may simply be soft and overripe. These berries will leak juice, some of which will stain clothing and hands. Blackberries are particularly bad about staining, and are notorious for leaking juice.
Berry picking is always a hit with small children, making it the perfect family activity. Just be sure that all family members are ready for all of the bugs, thorns, and staining that they might encounter. Some berry farms may offer thornless varieties, which would be a great option for very small children.