Picture yourself strolling through picturesque fields, with the sun gently warming your skin and the sweet aroma of ripe blueberries filling the air. There’s something truly magical about picking your own blueberries. Not only do you get to indulge in nature’s bounty, but you also create lasting memories with family and friends. Join us on a delightful journey as we explore the ins and outs of blueberry picking in the Hawkeye State.
Why Pick Your Own Blueberries?
There’s an undeniable charm and satisfaction in harvesting your own food, and blueberry picking is no exception. Here are a few reasons why picking your own blueberries is an experience worth cherishing:
- Freshness and Flavor: The burst of flavor from a freshly picked blueberry is unparalleled. By picking your own, you ensure that each plump, juicy berry you savor is at the peak of its ripeness.
- Supporting Local Farms and the Community: When you visit blueberry farms in Iowa, you directly support local farmers and their families. It’s a wonderful way to contribute to the agricultural heritage of the state and strengthen the community.
- Fun and Engaging Outdoor Activity for All Ages: Blueberry picking is a delightful outdoor adventure suitable for everyone. It’s an opportunity to bond with loved ones, connect with nature, and relish the simple pleasure of gathering nature’s treasures.
Best Time to Pick Blueberries in Iowa
Blueberry picking in Iowa typically takes place from late June to early August, depending on the farm and weather conditions. The exact timing may vary slightly, so it’s advisable to check with your chosen blueberry farm beforehand. Plan your visit during this window to ensure the best selection of ripe, plump berries.
Where to find Blueberry Farms in Iowa
Iowa boasts several blueberry farms and orchards that welcome visitors for the delightful experience of picking their own blueberries. Here are a few notable destinations to consider:
Blueberry Farms in Eastern Iowa
Blueberry Bottom Farm, Brighton
Blueberry Bottom Farm is one of the few certified organic farms that allows you to pick your own blueberries. After battling cancer, the owner began eliminating chemicals from her environment, including the Blueberry Farm. They grow eight different varieties. Picking season is typically the end of June through the end of July. Reservations are highly recommended.
Blueyah Organic Blueberry Farm, Oxford
Another organic farm featuring you pick blueberries. Reservations are required. You’ll also need a reservation to visit Jake and Elwood – their llamas. In fact, if you bring a bucket, you can get free llama poop. Seriously, it’s free and it’s awesome for your flowers and garden. And amazingly, it has almost no smell.
Blueberry Farms in Central Iowa
Upstream Gardens & Orchard, Altoona
Notes: Not only do they have blueberries, but also a large variety of other fruits and vegetables.
The Berry Patch, Nevada
Notes: Includes, apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, currants, gooseberries, pumpkins, raspberries, rhubarb, and strawberries. Their website confirms that the various fruits and vegetables are available at various seasons – but it does not confirm if it’s a pick yourself or if it is prepicked.
Blueberry Farms in Western Iowa
Eva’s Berries, Fonda
Location: 55560 150th Avenue, Fonda, IA 50540
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/people/Evas-Berries/100057116393217
Features strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries grown on a trellis system.
Tips for a Successful Blueberry Picking Trip
To make the most of your blueberry-picking adventure, consider the following tips:
- Dress Comfortably and Protect Yourself from the Sun: Wear light, breathable clothing, and don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent to stay comfortable and protected under the sun.
- Bring Containers or Baskets for Collecting Blueberries: Many farms provide containers, but it’s always handy to bring your own. Opt for containers with lids to prevent any accidental spills and keep your blueberries safe during transport.
- Respect the Farm’s Rules and Guidelines: Each farm may have specific rules for picking, such as designated areas or guidelines for harvesting. Follow these instructions to ensure a harmonious experience for all visitors and maintain the integrity of the farm.
- Engage in Sustainable Picking Practices: Be mindful of the plants and their delicate branches while picking. Gently grasp the blueberry stem and roll the berry between your fingers until it detaches. Avoid excessive force or pulling, as it may damage the plant.
Picking Techniques and Berry Selection
To select the best blueberries, keep the following in mind:
- Color: Look for berries that have a deep, rich color. Ripe blueberries will have a dark blue or purple hue, depending on the variety.
- Firmness: Give the berries a gentle squeeze to ensure they’re firm but not too hard. Overly soft or mushy berries may be overripe.
- Size: Blueberries come in various sizes, but aim for medium-sized berries as they tend to be juicier.
Remember, taste-testing along the way is part of the fun, so indulge in a few juicy berries as you pick! Just be sure to ask each farm what their taste-testing policy is, as some have specific rules regarding how much taste-testing is allowed.
Caring for Your Blueberries
Once you’ve gathered your bountiful harvest of blueberries, here are some tips to ensure they stay fresh:
- Proper Washing and Cleaning Techniques: Before enjoying your blueberries, gently rinse them under cool water to remove any debris. Pat them dry with a clean towel or let them air dry before storing.
- Storage Options and Shelf Life: Blueberries are best stored in the refrigerator in a container or a breathable bag. They can stay fresh for up to a week. If you want to preserve them longer, consider freezing them in airtight containers or freezer bags.
- Creative Ways to Enjoy and Utilize Blueberries: Blueberries are versatile and can be used in various recipes. From refreshing smoothies and tangy pies to delectable pancakes and vibrant salads, let your culinary creativity soar with these delightful berries.
Embarking on a blueberry picking adventure in Iowa is a sweet endeavor that connects you with nature and the local farming community. As you wander through the vibrant fields, savoring the juicy treasures you pluck, you’ll create cherished memories that last a lifetime. So, gather your loved ones, embrace the sun-kissed fields, and relish the joys of picking blueberries in the beautiful state of Iowa.
Whether you’re a blueberry enthusiast or simply seeking a fun-filled outdoor activity, this charming experience is sure to leave you with a heart full of contentment and a basket brimming with nature’s sweetness. Enjoy the journey, embrace the flavors, and discover the magic of picking blueberries in Iowa!
Note: Please remember to check the availability, opening hours, and any specific guidelines of the blueberry farms mentioned before planning your visit.
Looking for places to pick strawberries in Iowa? Here’s our list of the best strawberry patches in Iowa.