Strawberry_Spinach_Salad_with_Feta_and_Walnuts_by_Benita_Ki

It’s summertime in the Pacific Northwest! So put some ice in that coffee, break out the sturdy shoes, and head out on an adventure to a local farm to pick some berries. The Northwest is home to delicious rasp-, straw-, blue-, black-, boysen-, logan-, tay-, goose-, and marion-…berries (a NW favorite that is a cross of blackberries, chehalem, and olallieberries).

Many farms allow you to pick your own berries for a fraction of the cost found in grocery stores and farmers markets. Go here to find your nearest farm for a local fresh-picked experience. Dates and times can vary so be sure to call ahead.

Today we’re giving a nod to a few farms in and around Pierce County, Washington that provide the “U-Pick” experience:

Terry’s Berries Organic Farm at 4520 River Road in Tacoma
Picha Farms at 6502 52nd St East in Puyallup
Linbo Blueberry Farm at 1201 South Fruitland in Puyallup
Canter-berry Farms at 19102 Southeast Green Valley Road in Auburn

Once you settle on one, it’s time to go pick berries. What to do when you get home with forty pounds of picked fruit? Plan to freeze a portion of them for a nutrition punch in winter. Lay out in single layer on baking sheet and freeze until firm. Pack into freezer bags and store until needed.

Here are quick and easy ways to include berries on your daily dish.

There’s nothing like the taste of berries FRESH from the vine, with the added satisfaction that you picked them yourself! Now that berry season is in full swing, plan an outing to a local farm to pick your own, snack on them while you pick, and bring home plenty to make some delicious and healthy meals!

Photo: Benita Ki