If you have not taken your kids berry picking before, this is the year to get out and go. The weather has been good for berries this year and it sounds like farms will have a bumper crop. Picking fruit right off the plant is fun and educational for urban and suburban kids alike. Berries that you picked yourself just taste better! There are a few “U-Pick Farms” around Central Iowa. This list will get you started. If you know of a patch to add to the list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Know Before You Go
Call ahead to:
- verify picking times as it varies from farm to farm.
- verify what equipment you will need and what facilities are available on-site.
- verify which methods of payment they accept. Many U Pick 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.)
- Remember comfortable shoes (you will be walking in fields) and wear sun screen.
- Bring your water bottle and pack a picnic if the farm allows.
- And, don’t forget your camera… kids picking berries make a great photo-op!
You Pick Berry Patches around Des Moines
Berry Fresh Farms
Fruit: Strawberries and Raspberries
Where: 30339 K Avenue, Adel, IA
Phone: (515) 554-6698
Burr Oak Farms
Fruit: Blackberries and Cherries
Where: 1121 220th Street, Winterset, Iowa.
Phone: 515-462-1482 or 800-478-5692
The Berry Patch
Fruit: Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Currants, Gooseberries, Raspberries and Strawberries
Where: 62785 280th St, Nevada, IA
Phone: (515) 382-5138
Edge of the Woods
Fruit: Red and Black Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries and Tart Cherries
Where: 15285 Fairfax Street, Indianola, IA
Phone: (515) 961-7252
Where: Highway 141 just before Granger
Phone: (515) 276-0852
Fruit: Aronia Berries
Where: 705 SW Ringgold Street, Boone, IA
Phone: (515) 432-9251
After Your Visit
- DON’T wash the berries until you are ready to use them. Washing makes them more prone to rot.
- Pour them out onto a cookie sheet and remove any mushed, soft or rotting berries.
- Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash and cut the stems off the others and freeze them.
Our family’s favorite use of fresh berries is to make smoothies. Following are two of our favorite smoothie recipes:
1 cup orange juice
1 cup hulled, quartered and frozen fresh strawberries
2 sliced bananas
Pour the orange juice into a blender. Add the strawberries and bananas. Blend until smooth.
1 cup low-fat blueberry yogurt
¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups frozen fresh blueberries
Combine the yogurt, milk, syrup and cinnamon in a blender. Add the blueberries and blend until smooth.
What are your tips for a family fun day of berry picking?