This summer we planned to go to a few U-pick farms in Alberta (the province where we live). But the summer was rainy and we ended up going to only 2 farms as during many weekends the rain prevented us from leaving the house. Plus we had other weekend plans that didn’t include visiting a U-pick farm.
I am hoping that by the end of summer we’ll squeeze in a trip to a third U-pick farm, but I would not be surprised if this doesn’t happen. Our weekends are full until my 7 year old starts grade 2. But we’ll see; hope dies last.
1.Thoroughly research the farms in your area, including their website, social media, and reviews.
If you have little kids, a farm close to your house (not more than 1 hour or so drive away) makes things easier. Especially on the way home 😉 .
I checked Google and Facebook to find farms that fit the closeness criteria. I made a list of the farms within a 1-hour drive from our house. I don’t like to spend a lot of time in the car unless we are going on an overnight trip.
Some farms had reviews, so I made sure to read those as well to get a better feeling if the farm would be a good fit for my family.
We started off our trip to the farm by following a cat for a bit. Fun!
2. Make sure the U-pick farm has the fruits and vegetables you want to pick.
It would be really sad if you were planning to pick cherries and the farm had only potatoes available for digging.
I knew I wanted us to pick sour cherries as my whole family loves me 10 times more than usual when I make this. The Saskatoon berry farm had sour cherries available also had black currants. So we ended up picking both and froze most of our harvest. I am thinking smoothies, cake, and pies when fall and winter come. Yes, we are those weird people who drink smoothies in winter.
My family picking sour cherries.
My kids keeping busy at the U-pick farm.
3. Pack a bag with snacks and lots of water.
If your kids are anything like mine, they will want to eat as soon as they get in the car, even though they finished their breakfast 10 minutes earlier. They will also want to eat 1 hour later and again when we are back in the car, on our way home.
If your kids aren’t continuously ravenous, skip this step and go to # 4.
Harvest: sour cherries and black currants.
4. Don’t forget your hats. And long-sleeved shirts.
If the farm has lots of insects buzzing around, you might want to cover yourselves with lightly-colored pants and long-sleeved shirts. You can call the farm ahead and find out if insects are out and about.
The second farm we went to, Pleasant View, had grass between rows of raspberries bushes, which is great terrain for insects to thrive in. Even more, the farmers didn’t spray their crops (awesome!), so the wild life (I am kidding, only mosquitos and some unidentified insects) were flying around. However, we got really lucky as those mosquitos were really polite (or maybe they weren’t hungry or we weren’t sweet enough for them). Usually I am sure to get bit many, many times, but this time around I found only 3 mosquito bites on my legs. The rest of my family, as usual, had no bites 🙂 .
My dad, who moved with my mom from Romania to Canada to be close to his grand-kids (and my husband and I too), has a saying about how much mosquitos love him: “If there is one mosquito in all of Europe, it will definitely find me”. Sometimes I feel the same way…
Of course, although the farmer told us to protect our arms and legs with clothes before we got there, we completely disregarded his advice. Lesson learned!
Raspberries. There were actually 3 colors available: black, red, and yellow.
5. Be ready for enthusiastic kids who want to make jam the second you come home.
When it comes to ideas that HAVE to be put in practice without delay, my son is a master.
After spending 2 hours in the hot sun picking raspberries and being harassed by insects, the last thing I wanted was to make jam as soon as we got home. Of course, my son did not give up, asking me over and over during the drive home if we could make some jam at home. Sometimes I say yes and other times I say no. This time I said yes.
Did you visit a U-pick farm this summer? Which fruits and vegetables did you pick? Do you have any tips to add to make the farm visit wonderful?