New Jersey earns its "Garden State" nickname with an abundance of pick your own fruit and veggies available throughout the summer months. Whether berries, peaches or even flowers strike your fancy, there are plenty of wonderful places to take the kids for a fun hands-on activity. Picking their own produce is the perfect opportunity for children to see where food comes from, eat locally and have a great time too. The NJ picking season starts at the end of May and runs through the fall months. Read on for the skinny on seven pick-your-own locations. And remember to always call ahead before visiting to check availability. Happy picking!
Strawberries? Raspberries? Blueberries? Our family debate over which is the best berry may never be resolved, but that just may be because each time one of these berries is in season, it’s hard not to declare it the best. Our favorite this time of year? It’s the blueberry, by far. Blueberries just may be the easiest fruit to pick, prepare and serve. No peeling, no pitting, no coring, no cutting. Plus, they have few natural pests other than birds, so much is grown pesticide-free.
The pick-your-own blueberry season begins early July and continues through late August or early September. We’ve rounded up some farms in the Boston area which are beginning to open up for blueberry picking, plus we've included a few helpful tips. At the end of the post, you'll find a recipe for our favorite blueberry treat: the classic blueberry buckle.
The Inn at East Hill Farm is a special place. It combines hands-on learning at a working farm with all the fun of sleepaway camp and the blissful convenience of an all-inclusive resort.
Nestled in the Mount Monadnock Region of New Hampshire, the resort has views that go on forever, and a relaxed, when-you're-here-you're-family vibe. There are activities galore and all meals are included, so you won’t need to go anywhere else during your stay—and I’m guessing you’ll be happy to leave the car parked, let someone else do the cooking, and focus your energy on having a ball with your kids.
One of the things I'm truly loving about living in the 'burbs now that the weather's nice is the opportunity to be close to nature. The South Shore is known for its beautiful forests and marshes, and is home to a wide variety of birds, seals, and other forest friends. Mass Audubon's South Shore Sanctuaries—North River, Daniel Webster, and North Hill Marsh—are ideal places to discover the area's natural treasures.
North River serves as the indoor base for the three sanctuaries, with a nature center featuring a discovery room for kids, turtles, fish, an archeological station, bathrooms, and a gift shop. As we drove up the winding road to the North River Sanctuary's main building, we felt transported into a different world. Everything was so vibrant and bright, lush and crisp. Once inside, my son had a blast playing with the toys and exploring, while I learned about the variety of programs and things to do at the three sanctuaries.
Strawberry picking is a nice, low-key summer activity to enjoy with the kids, but sometimes you want to kick it up a notch. These Boston-area farms, markets and restaurants are doing exactly that with June festivals featuring hayrides, bouncy houses, live entertainment and fun for kids. There's also plenty of strawberry shortcake to try, plus other delightful treats, too.
So bring your kids and your appetite: It's time to celebrate strawberry season!
In the realm of pick-your-own, I don't think there's a better fruit for kids to pluck than the strawberry. The plants are close to the ground so no poles needed for reaching high-up fruit. They're small, too, and the berries are accessible without having to reach way into the plant. Ripe berries are clustered together, so kids have the satisfaction of picking a lot in a short period of time so it doesn't get boring. And no prickers!
June is "strawberry month" and most farms are open for picking by mid-month; some are even ready sooner. Read on for farms where you can pick your own strawberries and tips for getting the most out of the experience. Check back in the summer for our updated blueberry picking post.
My kids love strawberries. No surprise there—strawberries are one of my favorites, too, and I've been serving the fruit to them since they first got teeth. Lucky for them, their grandmother grows strawberries in her backyard, so they've been part of the planting, growing and harvesting process since they were tots. They always get excited watching how the strawberry forms from the center of a pretty white flower, tiny and green, and eventually grows into a bright red, delicious fruit they can pluck and devour.
As much as they enjoy their grandmother's tiny patch, meandering through large fields of strawberries is also an awesome experience. It's not only a fun spring activity, but it also teaches kids about the farm-to-table and locavore movements, and encourages healthy eating habits. Luckily, we have a handful of strawberry picking farms in our area. We've rounded up pick-your-own strawberry places in the lower Hudson Valley where families can harvest their own batch of strawberry goodness. Although there aren't any PYO strawberry spots within Westchester's borders, we have located farms that are less than 90 minutes from central Westchester by car, close enough for a fun day trip.
The start of strawberry picking season is a sure sign that summer is right around the corner. Spending a day picking this sweet fruit at a local orchard or farm is a great activity for families. It teaches kids about their food sources, connects everyone with nature and makes for a fun outdoor experience.
We have compiled a list of farms in the Philadelphia area that offer strawberry picking, as well as a few activity-filled strawberry festivals. Read our tips before you go to help make your day at the farm even more enjoyable.
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara