“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.” -Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth
It is July. This means it is the perfect time for blueberry picking in Georgia.
Blueberries are one of the easiest fruits to prepare and serve. There’s no peeling, pitting, coring or cutting. Other than birds, they have few natural pests, and their antioxidant and health benefits are well documented.
Especially in the wild species, blueberries contain anthocyanins, other antioxidant pigments that suggest a role in reducing risks of some diseases, including inflammation and different cancer cell development and inflammation.
We take our daughters blueberry picking a few times every summer. There are plenty of places to pick blueberries in the Atlanta area, but for most trips, we end up at Berry Patch Farms, located in Canton, Georgia. It’s a 20 minute drive from our home and they greet you with a smile every time, use no pesticides, and best of all, offer plenty of blueberries.
Eating local can be a challenge in the winter, but during the summer, pick your own farms make it an opportunity for family fun and there’s no better crop to start with than the blueberry. They grow incredibly well in Georgia and are often found low enough for even small toddlers to pick.
There is a natural attraction between children and the earth, whether it’s making mud or discovering a ripe blueberry for the first time. Spending time with children, opens new windows of thought and communication in a world dominated by iPhones and technology. Enjoy this time.
Below are a few tips to help you have a success day of picking
- Call ahead
This is the most important step you can take to have a successful day of blueberry picking in Georgia. Most farmers do not update social media every day, and the picking conditions can change drastically day-to-day, especially if there’s been rain or a dramatic change in temperatures. Calling ahead could save you the potential for a disappointing trip if they’ve had to close early.
- Arrive Early
Especially on the weekends, going right when the farm opens (or shortly thereafter) means you’ve got the best shot at the berries, and less-congested fields. Waiting until mid-day means you might be fighting crowds, unbearable heat, and the picked over berries.
- Be Selective
Select plump, full blueberries with a light gray-blue color. A berry with a hint of red isn’t fully ripened. White and green colored blueberries will not ripen after they are picked; while blueberries that have already turned purple, red or blue-ish usually DO ripen after they are picked
- Have Fun
Berry picking can a great activity for kids, as long as you remember keep it as just that—a fun activity. You are not going to pick 5 gallons of perfect berries during a singe outing with your kids. If you can manage your expectations and focus on having fun it will be a great trip every time.
During our last trip, it was REALLY hot. After busting my butt for an hour in scorching heat and battling dehydration I discovered I picked only 4 dollars worth of blueberries. In that moment, I felt like a failure. To them, I was still their hero.