Blueberry Picking in Massachusetts
Imagine gathering blueberries on a hillside with your child, only to discover that it’s no longer your child lagging behind you. It’s Mama Bear’s cub instead! In the classic children’s book Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey (1948), that’s what happens. Sal gets distracted and accidentally follows Mama Bear’s foraging footsteps, while the baby cub surprises Sal’s mom. Both families are preparing for winter by gathering berries, but the two “children” are too distracted to collect much.
You probably won’t run into a bear when you set out to pick blueberries, but these pick-your-own farms offer plenty to see and enjoy. Blueberry season typically runs from mid-July to mid-September, though the weather influences the length of the harvest. Call ahead to find out if the blueberries are ripe for picking!
Play and Picnic
Bob and Barbara Morehouse own and operate Wheeler Brook Farm in Georgetown. Besides pick-your-own crops, they have a self-service farm stand featuring only products grown on their 10-acre plot. After you pick blueberries, dig for treasure in the Penny Heaven sandbox, play on the swings, give a treat to Samantha the donkey or Bart the goat, and enjoy a picnic. Check out their Web site for a pie-crust recipe. Wheeler Brook Farm, 57 Jewett St., Georgetown, 978-352-8289; www.wheelerbrookfarm.net
See Bees and Chickens
Three generations of the Cook family run Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury. Besides pick-your-own crops, Cider Hill has a full-service store with a special bee observation area (for pollinating all those fruit trees!), and Red Star hens clucking around back. Much of the energy from the farm comes from three wind turbines, a solar panel array – and international agricultural students serving one-year internships at Cider Hill. Check their Web site for blueberry picking season. Cider Hill Farm, 45 Fern Ave., Amesbury, 978-388-5525; www.ciderhill.com
Walk Around the Pond
With 140 acres, Connors Farm in Danvers is one of the largest farms in the area protected by agricultural preservation restrictions. It’s been in business since 1904, starting off as a “truck farm” that trucked produce to Boston for the wholesale market. Now Connors Farm sells its crops from its full-service store. After picking fresh blueberries, take a walk around the three-acre pond, visit the barnyard animals, and have a picnic. Connors Farm, 30 Valley Road (Rt. 35), Danvers; 978-777-1245; www.connorsfarm.com
See Goats in the Air!
Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro dedicates eight of its 93 acres near the Merrimack River to 10 different types of blueberries. After picking your pint or two, stop at the farm stand store for homemade strawberry, blueberry or apple-cider donuts. In addition to two animal barns featuring sheep, bunnies and chickens, there are goats climbing along platforms 20 feet in the air, between the trees! Send the goats some feed through the pulley system, run through the hay bale maze and learn about tractors with Farmer Mark. Parlee Farms, Farwell Road, Tyngsboro; 978-649-3854; www.parleefarm.com
Hay Ride around the Farm
Russell Orchards is a family owned and operated farm in Ipswich. Walk through two acres of blueberry bushes to fill up your carton with delicious berries. Ride a pony or hop on a hay ride to see the farm animals play. Don’t forget to try their delicious fresh baked goodies, especially their famous cider donuts! Take a stroll around the pond or hang out by the barn and feed the animals.
Russell Orchards, 143 Argilla Road, Ipswich; 978-356-5366 www.russellorchards.com
Taste Local Foods
Year round, Lanni Orchards offers fresh and local foods. The farm has been growing apples, peaches, blueberries and more for over 50 years. Bring your own containers and fill up on delicious home grown blueberries. Take a walk around the farm and check out their homemade goodies at their year round farm stand.
Lanni Orchards, 294 Chase Road, Lunenburg: 978-582-6246 www.lanniorchards.com
For more pick-your-own farms, visit BostonParentsPaper.com/berryfarms.