Why Picking Your Own Produce Is Important

July 29, 2015   12 Comments

As we got out of the car, my children moaned, “Why are we here?”

Pick Your Own Produce

I handed them both a bucket and replied, “Because, this is a great way to earn dessert!”

They rolled their eyes and marched into the field. In their defense, it was hot and there wasn’t any shade out there in the strawberry field but I wanted them to pick their own fruit. Why?

For those of you without any access to a pick-your-own farm, please plug your ears and sing, “nah, nah, nah”, for the rest of the post. I apologize to you for sharing how awesome this is.

There are so many great reasons other than the obvious ones – like the strawberries were price at only $2.50 per pound and were filled with tart, sweet, and ripe flavors unlike the supermarket variety.

Maybe you like the atmosphere of the farm or the hunt for the berries. Isn't this beautiful? and it smells good too (scratch and sniff).

But, there is something here more fundamental to experience about food. As the sweat starts to trickle down your back as you stoop over to pick the fruit - there is a deep realization about the hard work that goes into the food that we eat.

My children were working to pick the food that they would eventually get to eat (of course, they were eating a long the way – something a farm worker isn’t allowed to do).

You don’t ever look at a strawberry again in the same way after you spend some time picking them and I would argue that you don’t waste them either. Someone picked that fruit so you could eat it!

Here is part of my haul:

Don’t they look scrumptious? When you pick your own, you get a deep appreciation for unprocessed food because it tastes so gooooood.

After we got home (and they cooled off), my children were proud of themselves for working to get our vittles. I was proud of them for not complaining the entire time.

Do you ever go vegetable or fruit picking?

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I have a very small garden in a raised bed in the backyard. There is nothing like going out & picking 1 pepper, 3 cherry tomatoes & 2 cucumbers for my lunch. Its fresh, tastes great & it grew! Feeling can't be beat.

Here on the east coast of central Florida blueberry season is in May. We usually make 3 picking trips to our 2 favorite farms and freeze enough berries to almost get through to the following year - under $3 a pound and larger juicer than in the market. Strawberries come in earlier - Mid to late February.

I went to a cherry orchard a few weeks ago and picked sour cherries; 5 quarts and one pine. Made an awesome cherry pie and froze the rest pitted for more baking projects. Cheaper than those already picked and yes, I felt a sense of accomplishment for picking them myself!

One of my fondest childhood memories is of going to pick peaches. It was hot, sticky(with peach fuzz to make you itch), miserable and wonderful at the same time! Being 'pre-wet wipe' days, we always took baggies with wet wash cloths in them to wipe off the juice when we finished. Of course we ate as much as we could hold while picking. The smell of a really good peach takes me right back there still.

My fondest memories as a child was going out to the local apple orchard and picking Spartan apples straight from the tree. Of us 2 kids, I was the better climber and was able to gauge branch strength to really get high in the apple tree to get the biggest and best of the Spartans. There was also a place up the road from where we stayed for a while that sold huge pouches of fresh corn (50lbs pouches) right from the field for about $2CDN. Ah, those where the good ol' days.

So true!!! When we were young, we had a u-pick-em blueberry place right down the street. Blueberries in the store taste nothing like those - we ate them by the handfuls, like popcorn, all summer long. I've also taken my kids strawberry picking, with an experience similar to yours (it's too hot!, he's eating all my berries!) - and annual apple picking. It does truly make you appreciate the people who grow & pick our food! Great post!

Couldn't agree with you more, Lisa. When my brother and I were your kids' ages, my mom and dad used to take us out to pick blueberries at a farm owned by my dad's coworker. It amazed me how long it took to fill a pail... especially if you ate a few along the way. :) But the berries (and pies that my mom made out of them) were wholesome goodness and totally worth the effort.

Many years as a young adult I was in the strawberry field at 5:30am (so I could quit by 11:30am) picking strawberries. This was how I earned money for school clothes. I moved through blueberries, raspberries and loganberries as well. I'll have to say though, I was an eater. I consumed a lot of berries and still love all varieties today. They were especially good with dew still on the berries, dirt and all.

Thanks for this blog. I agree heartily. Our children (and us) need to know the hard work that goes into not only growing but also picking our food. Most of which is picked by migrant workers who earn minimum wage and work in very harsh conditions. I have the option of doing it out of choice, they have to do it to make a living...

I am grateful for that AND I love picking my own fruit and vegetables when I can.

Thank you for this post. It brings back great memories of my childhood summers.

I’m glad you guys had such a great time! But you do bring up a great point about the sun. In most any pick-your-own farms, you’re not going to have the luxury of getting to some shade while you’re out there picking fruit. Be sure to dress appropriately and bring plenty of water!

We try to go pick our own fruits as much as possible. It tastes juicier and much better than anything you can buy at a store. It is a great delight when we see "pick your own strawberries" or any other fruit while we are driving on the highway.

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