Enjoy a bumper crop of fun this summer! Several farms in the Des Moines area let families get their hands dirty as they pick their own harvest. It’s also a great opportunity for kids to use their fresh-picked berries to make a tasty treat. So, pick your own fruit, enjoy berry season, and get the kids outside this summer at a u-pick berry farm in Central Iowa.
Tips 4 Berry Picking with Kids
- Call ahead to:
- verify picking dates, times and seasons as it varies from farm to farm.
- verify what equipment you will need (do they provide picking containers?) and what facilities (potties) are available on-site.
- verify which methods of payment they accept. Some farms only accept cash or check.
- verify exactly how to get there from wherever you are. (Unless, you think a day lost in Timbuktu is a fun adventure.)
- Wear comfortable shoes (you will be walking in fields) and wear sun screen. You may also want to wear a hat and bring along a wagon or stroller.
- Bring water bottles, snacks and/or pack a picnic if the farm allows.
- Relax and have fun. It’s okay to eat a few berries as you pick them (if it’s not, I would think about going to a different farm on your next trip).
- See the day as an outing/activity in itself. Take breaks to check out the farm sights, explore the rows, eat a snack, etc. You’ll walk away with a bunch of berries AND happy, exhausted kids.
- And, don’t forget your camera… children with berry stained smiles make a great photo-op!
Fruit: Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Currants, Gooseberries, Raspberries and Strawberries
Where: 62785 280th St, Nevada, IA
Phone: (515) 382-5138
Tips: The pick your own strawberry season starts Monday June 5. Regular hours are 9:00 am to 12:00 pm each day, Monday trhough Saturday. They may be sold out earlier than noon, so be sure to call ahead or visit their website and Facebook page. Pick Your Own Strawberry season usually lasts 3-4 weeks. Cherries, raspberries and gooseberries are typically ready the first week of July followed by blueberries and blackberries in August.
Bob’s Aronia Field
Fruit: Aronia Berries
Where: 101 NE 72nd Place Ankeny, IA 50023
Phone: (515) 778-4262
Tips: Bob’s Aronia Field is open by appointment only for U-pick and already picked berries. Aronia Berries are ready to be picked in mid to late August.
Fruit: Red and Black Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries and Tart Cherries
Where: 15285 Fairfax Street, Indianola, IA
Phone: (515) 961-7252
Tips: Edge of the Woods is opening for the 2017 season on Saturday, June 10th. Seasonal farm hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:00 am to 1:00 pm; Saturdays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sundays 1:00 to 5:00 pm. They are CLOSED on Mondays and Wednesdays. Red raspberries are typically ready to pick in late June. Blueberries are usually ready to pick mid-June through July.
Fruit: Sweet Cherries, Black Tartan Cherries and Blueberries
Where: 17246 125th Street, Van Wert, IA 50262
Phone: (515) 231-8008
Tips: Engdahl Farm is open year-round by appointment only. Cherries and blueberries are typically available in mid-June through July.
Where: 1348 295th Street, Montour, Iowa 50173
Phone: (641) 492-6353
Tips: Hinegardner Orchard hours are Sunday through Saturday 7:00 am to 12:00 noon. Wednesdays 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Strawberries will be ready to be picked around the first week of June and will last about 3 weeks.
Where: Highway 141 just before Granger
Phone: (515) 276-0852
Tips: Iowa Orchard’s seasonal hours at the Granger site are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday through Saturday. Strawberry Season is typically late May through late June. Watch their Facebook page for their official opening date. Pre-picked strawberries can also be purchased at their Urbandale location.
Fruit: Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Mulberries, Raspberries and Strawberries
Where: 5987 NE 88th Street, Altoona, IA 50009
Phone: (515) 957-1303
Tips: Upstream Gardens & Orchard will open on Saturday, May 28th. Their hours are Monday through Saturday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 to 7:00 pm. Watch their website to know when fruit is ready to be picked.
Fruit: Aronia Berries
Where: 705 SW Ringgold Street, Boone, IA
Phone: (515) 432-9251
Tips: Timberlea Farm is open by appointment only for U-pick and already picked berries. Aronia Berries are ready to be picked in mid to late August.
Let us know in the Comment section below your insider tips for visiting a u-pick berry farm with kids near Des Moines!