Summer family traditions, do you have them? We do! Of course, we go camping and to the beach on a regular basis during the summer. Even though we have a pool, we try to hit the splash pad with friends on Fridays (which reminds me, we need to add that to our schedule). A trip with the family to see the Astros at Minutemaid park is pretty much becoming a tradition, though it’s also become pretty expensive. And then there’s our annual trip to the Chmielewski Blueberry Farm.
Blueberries in Texas? Yep, but you better get there the first couple of weeks into summer break, because the south Texas Blueberry Season comes early!
Pretty much the day More Love Mama gets out of school, my middle son starts asking (more like badgering) us about when we can go blueberry picking. So, during that first week of summer, the second at the latest, we get up early and drive over to Chmielewski Blueberry Farm which just happens to be only 10 minutes away from our house.
As soon as I put the van in park, the kids pile out of the car, and run around looking for blueberries. We corral them and point them to the buckets. We grab a few of them, and run off in search of the bushes that have the fattest, bluest blueberries. I look for bushes that have morning shade and try to pick every ripe blueberry off of that bush before moving on to the next one. My kids on the other hand love to run from bush to bush, grabbing only the most obvious and easy to find blueberries. I love watching their exuberance.
When, What, and Where Can You Pick?
Down here in south Texas, most berries and fruit are finished by the middle of July. Obviously, the further north you live, the later the season. We do most of our picking the first three weeks of summer vacation.
Here in the Houston area you can pick berries, fruit, watermelon, corn, you name it. If it grows locally, there is a farm that will let you pick your own.
Within 30 minutes of my house there are at least four pick your own farms. Just go look on line and you will be surprised at how many pick your own farms and orchards you can find.
Before You Go
There are a few things you might be sure to bring with you when you go fruit or berry picking:
- Bug Spray – There’s no point in feeding the mosquitoes.
- Sunscreen – I’d prefer to remember the berry picking rather tan the sunburn I got because I forgot to bring sunscreen
- Sunglasses – you tend to look up a lot when you are picking berries and fruit, so protect those young eyes.
- Solid shoes or boots – Leave the sandals and flipflops at home. Farms are full of mud, weeds and fire ants!
- Hats – Especially if your head looks like a cue ball like mine!
- Sting Relief – Most fruit and berry farms have lots of bees. Even though it’s highly unlikely that you will get stung, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Allergy Meds – If you have allergies, you probably should take an allergy medication before you go picking. It’s very likely that you will come into contact with pollen or some other allergen that you don’t normally find in your house.
- Water – Hey, it’s summer and you will be outside. Bring water. Unless you like to hear complaining little voices.
- Bring a good attitude and don’t forget your money. Some places only take cash.
Some Additional Picking Tips
- Go early in the morning before it gets too hot.
- Depending on the temperature you may want to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts to protect your little ones from cuts and scratches, especially when it comes to raspberries and blackberries.
- Call ahead to make sure the farm is open. Sometimes farms close to allow fruit to mature. Recent rain may cause a farm to close for a few days. Sometimes the season will end early, so it’s best to make sure they are open before you go. Disappointed kids are not fun to deal with!
- You probably won’t have to bring your own containers, but make sure you don’t before you show up, or just bring your own to be safe.
Most orchards and farms don’t mind if you snack on a couple of berries, or whatever you are picking, just don’t get carried away.
When it comes time to weigh your produce, don’t be surprised if you picked way more than you planned. With that in mind, make sure you bring plenty of cash. We picked 50% more than we had planned, but no problem, the blueberries were gone within 24 hours anyway.
We had a great time at, Chmielewski’s Blueberry Farm this year. If you live in the area I”m sure they would love you to come by for a visit, but do it soon. Blueberry season is almost over!
Brian at Daddy Go To Timeout
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