It’s that time of year. The grass is green. The trees have bloomed. It’s hot outside. It’s time for picking blueberries! I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of this juicy berry. To me, nothing beats the flavor of fresh picked blueberries. So let’s talk about where you can pick blueberries, when you can pick, and tips for making the most of your experience. As an added bonus, I’ll also tell you about the amazing benefits of picking your own blueberries, but since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you don’t need a lot of convincing that fresh picked blueberries are the best.
Where to pick blueberries
First of all you, you need to know where to pick them. If you live in the Springfield, MO area, I’ve done some research and compiled a list of blueberry picking farms in our area. If you’re not in the area, you can do a quick Google search to find blueberry picking near you. Some areas may have more blueberries farms than others. Blueberries can grow all over the U.S., but some states will have more places to pick than others. Here are the places to pick near the Springfield, MO area.
Ozark Mountain Orchard (opened June 4th for picking)
2949 Pleasant View Rd.
Highlandville, Missouri 65669
Price: $3.50 per pound (bulk discounts available)
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sundays 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Check Facebook before going for weather and availability)
The Blueberry Patch
986 Crosstie Rd.
Seymour, MO 65746
Price: $2 per pound
Hours: Saturday and Tuesdays from 7:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m. (check website for opening date)
445 Silver Lake Rd. (call or check Facebook for directions – their Facebook says not to rely on your GPS to find them)
Billings, MO 65610
417-369-5710 and 417-294-9062
Check website or Facebook for updates on opening dates, hours, and pricing.
Persimmon Hill Farm (opened June 5th for picking)
367 Persimmon Hill Lane
Lampe, Missouri 65681
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. (check before going for picking availability)
When to pick blueberries
In Missouri, blueberry season is generally from mid-June to mid- July. This can vary a little bit depending on the weather, so I recommend checking your local blueberry farm’s website about once a week starting in early June. That way you’ll know as soon as soon as those delicious juicy berries are ripe and ready. A couple of the local farms have already opened for picking!
How to pick blueberries – Tips for getting the most of your blueberry picking experience
Go early. The early bird gets the worm, or in this case the first ones to the blueberry farm get the blueberries. Blueberry picking season is short and people love blueberries. If you get to the blueberry farm too late, the crop may already be picked over. Find out what time your location opens. If it’s a popular place, you may want to arrive 20-30 minutes before they open. Some popular places already have a line prior to opening. If in doubt, call the blueberry farm near you and ask them what time people typically get there and how busy they get.
Call or check the website first. Sometimes blueberry farms will close for a few days after a big day of picking. If all the ripe blueberries have been picked, they may need to wait a few days for more to ripen before they can open for picking again. To be safe, check and make sure they will still be open for picking before going.
Pick them ripe. Ripe blueberries will be plump with a light grey-blue color. If there is a hint of red, the berry isn’t fully ripened. If the berry has any green on it, it’s not ripe and will not ripen anymore after picking.
Ripe berries will fall off the bunch easily. If there is any resistance, then the berry isn’t ripe and should be left on the plant to ripen. To easily pick ripe blueberries, place one hand on a bunch of blueberries and hold your bucket under the bunch with the other hand. Gently stroke the berries with your fingers and the ripe ones will fall off easily into your bucket.
Store them in the refrigerator or freezer without washing. Do not wash your blueberries until right before you are ready to eat them or cook with them. Washing your blueberries ahead of time decreases their shelf life, making it more likely the delicious berries will go to waste. Even if you’re freezing your berries, you still don’t want to wash them ahead of time. Washing them before freezing can make the skin tough and your blueberries will be all stuck together. It’s best to freeze them without washing (when they are dry) and then wash right before use. That way you can easily remove the amount you want while leaving the rest in the freezer for another time.
Fresh picked blueberries will last about 10-14 days in the refrigerator. This is longer than store bought blueberries. If you picked a lot of blueberries, estimate about how much you’ll eat in the next couple weeks. Store what you think you won’t eat in the freezer in an air tight bag or container. Frozen blueberries are great for smoothies and cobblers.
Why pick blueberries – The benefits of picking your own
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already thinking about picking some berries. There’s nothing wrong with buying your berries at the store, but there are some advantages to picking them yourself. Here are a few to consider.
Your kids will be more likely to eat them. If you have kids make sure you bring them with you to pick blueberries. Not only will they have a super fun time, but they will be more likely to eat them. It’s normal for kids to be finicky about food. When kids are invested in the growing, picking, cooking, etc of a food, then they are more likely to be open to trying the food and eating it. Your kids will have worked hard to help you pick all those blueberries and that’s going to make them more likely to eat them and get all those nutritional benefits.
You will enjoy them more. Not only will your kids be more likely to eat the blueberries, but you will appreciate their flavor a whole lot more since you went to all the work to pick them. Enjoying your food is an important part of life, and there is something really special and enjoyable about eating something that you worked hard to pick. Also, most people agree that fresh picked blueberries are tastier than the ones from the grocery store.
It’s more affordable than buying them from the store. Let’s face it, blueberries are expensive. I love blueberries, and I would eat them a lot more often if it wasn’t for the cost. Prices can vary depending on the store and time of year, but in general store-bought fresh blueberries cost about twice as much per pound as fresh pick-them-yourself blueberries. If you love fresh blueberries, this is as cheap as you’re going to get them.
You’ll get more nutrients from this superfood. Blueberries are considered a superfood, meaning that they are extremely nutrient rich with beneficial health properties. Fresh blueberries are richer in vitamins and antioxidants than store bought blueberries. Once a blueberry is picked, its enzymes start to feed on its nutrients, and since fresh picked blueberries in general have a shorter time between picking and eating than store-bought blueberries, there’s generally more nutrition. But don’t worry, the store-bought blueberries still have amazing health properties and are a great way to get nutrients.
Check out this article to learn more about how blueberries protect against aging, cancer, and cardiovascular disease as well as improve brain function.
So there you have it, everything you need to know to pick blueberries this year. If you pick blueberries, comment below and let me know how your picking experience went. The next few weeks, I’ll be posting some tasty recipes that you can make with your fresh picked blueberries. You won’t want to miss it. Follow me on Facebook or subscribe to my email list, so you won’t miss a recipe.