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 for berry picking. 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).
U-pick in Washington is a great summer activity because the berries are ripe and plentiful. The weather is usually sunny and warm, and it’s a fun way to spend time outdoors with family or friends. Picking your own berries means you get to enjoy them at their freshest, and you can save money too. Many farms allow you to pick your own berries for a fraction of the cost found in grocery stores and farmers markets. Washington is home to many delicious berry varieties, so there’s something for everyone to pick.
Here is a nod to a few farms in and around Pierce County, Washington that provide the “U-Pick” experience:
Wild Hare Organic Farm at 4520 River Road in Tacoma (previously known as Terry’s Berries Organic Farm )
Picha Farms at 6502 52nd St East in Puyallup and 74th and Tyler in Tacoma
Linbo Blueberry Farm at 1201 South Fruitland in Puyallup
Canter-berry Farms at 19102 Southeast Green Valley Road in Auburn
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.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to cooking with fresh berries. You might enjoy one or more of these 8 recipes for year round satisfaction:
1. Blueberry and Honey Breakfast Parfait – layer fresh blueberries and honey yogurt in a jar for a delicious and healthy breakfast.
2. Strawberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast – spread cream cheese on french toast slices, top with strawberries, and serve with syrup.
3. Mixed Berry Cobbler – mix blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries together in a bowl, then place them in a baking dish and top with a biscuit topping.
4. Raspberry Lemonade – blend fresh squeezed lemon juice with raspberries for a refreshing drink on a hot day.
5. Blackberry Pie – combine blackberries, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat, then pour the mixture into a pie crust and bake.
6. Triple Berry Smoothie – blend strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries together for a delicious smoothie that’s perfect for breakfast or snack time.
7. Mixed Berry Salsa – mix chopped strawberries, blueberries, red onion, jalapeño pepper, lime juice, and salt together for a tart salsa that’s perfect for serving with chips or tacos.
8. Berry Popsicles – blend your favorite berries together with some juice or yogurt to make popsicles that are perfect for summertime snacking!
With summer season in full swing, there’s nothing like the taste of berries FRESH from the vine. Picking them is an experience that will leave you satisfied and happy with plenty to show for it.
Go here to find your nearest farm for a local fresh-picked experience. Dates and times can vary so be sure to call ahead.