The abundance and availability of fresh food this time of the year is a real treat. Being able to pick our own fruits and veggies at local farms makes the bounty taste even sweeter. June is “strawberry month” and most local farms typically open for strawberry picking by the beginning of the month. Due to the cool spring, the strawberry season may start a little later this year. Following in July blueberries, blackberries and raspberries should be on the vine and ready for picking.
For more locally grown food options, check out our Guide to Farmers’ Markets and Farm Stands in Des Moines. Happy picking – and baking – and eating! And, for more summer fun check out our Summer Fun Guide.
Your Guide to Pick Your Own Berry Farms in Central Iowa:
Fruit: Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Currants, Gooseberries, Raspberries and Strawberries
Where: 62785 280th St, Nevada, IA
Phone: (515) 382-5138
Tips: Once the picking season starts, The Berry Patch’s regular hours are typically 9:00 am to 12:00 pm each day, Monday through 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: During picking season Bob’s Aronia Field is open on Weeknights 5:00 to 8:00 pm and Sundays 9:00 am to 5:00 pm or by appointment. Aronia Berries are ready to be picked in mid to late August. They have both U-pick and already picked berries available.
Fruit: Red and Black Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries and Tart Cherries
Where: 15285 Fairfax Street, Indianola, IA
Phone: (515) 961-7252
Tips: Watch Edge of the Woods’ website for their 2018 opening date. 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 are typically 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 have regular hours once strawberry picking starts. Until then give them a call to make an appointment. (Their hours are typically 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.
Good to know before you go berry picking:
- Hours and availability vary depending on the weather and foot traffic in the fields, so definitely check the farm’s website, social media sites or call ahead for the schedule the morning you plan to go. Also, be aware that sometimes they get “picked out” and other times crops are ready before or after the times listed on the website or their Facebook pages.
- Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and footwear that is comfortable for walking. Wear sunscreen and hats.
- Look at the farm’s website before you go to plan your day—several farms have other activities that kids will enjoy in addition to picking.
- If you don’t have time to pick your own berries, or if your kiddos just aren’t cooperating, you can still go home with sweet, mouthwatering berries, as most locations also sell them at their farm stands.
Where do you find your favorite summer berries in Central Iowa? Tell us in the comments below!