Pick a Pint: Local Berry Picking Awaits!
As the weather ripens, so too do nature’s jewels—sweet, luscious berries! Here in the Upper Valley, berries are begging to be picked. Lucky for us, there are more than a handful of farms that offer customers the satisfying experience of picking and eating their own berries. Whether you’re a sucker for sweet strawberries, seedy raspberries, or petite blueberries, you can pick, jam, can, and bake with berries you gathered yourself. Here’s a list of farms to get you started, but exploring the Upper Valley and discovering PYO (“Pick Your Own”) farms is half the fun.
• Strawberries at Edgewater Farm, Plainfield. As of the weekend of June 28th, strawberry picking at Edgewater Farm is officially open! Located right on River Road, the strawberry fields are easily accessible. If you haven’t tasted local, freshly picked strawberries, you haven’t tasted strawberries. These little red bites pack a lot of flavor for their size; they’re juicier and sweeter than any you’ll find in the supermarket. Strawberries, one of the heartier varieties of berries, are delicious when ripe, but don’t be afraid of the overripe, slightly squishy ones; they’re perfect for pies, shortcakes, and jams. After you have picked a large container of luscious berries, stop by Edgewater’s farmstand next door to purchase some homemade pickles, pasta, hummus, and more. You can even choose from their large selection of seedlings to add to your own garden.
• Raspberries at Poverty Lane Orchards, Lebanon. Raspberries are the tart members of the berry family, as well as very delicate once picked. Don’t layer your berries too deeply unless you plan on making jam, as they crush easily. At Poverty Lane, you will find green berries ripening to a juicy red in July (for the official opening day, call (603) 448-1511 as the season nears). The orchard, which also offers apple, pumpkin, pear, and squash crops in the fall, is also very family friendly. Be sure to say hello to Newton, the yellow Lab! The raspberry fields provide little shade, so come early in the morning; picking closes each day before the heat of mid afternoon. Bring plastic or small paper bags or containers to tote your berries home. When picking, go for berries that pull easily from the stem; those that don’t come off with a gentle tug aren’t fully ripe yet. Additionally, you will find pickable pie cherries and blackcurrants ripening alongside the raspberry bushes. Use these for baking and making jam, but be sure to pit the cherries first (I’ve missed this crucial step before, much to my dismay). As for the raspberries, if any make it home uneaten, pop them onto yogurt or ice cream with nuts and granola for a high-fiber treat.
• Blueberries at Noda Farm, Plainfield. Just under 1.5 miles up Bean Road in Meriden, New Hampshire, you will find a treasure trove of blueberry bushes at Noda Farm. The family business boasts some that have been growing for 30 years, nurtured by the loving care of the parents of the current owners. The farm, which also sells cut-your-own Christmas trees come late fall and early winter, has a reputation for offering its customers free range. Pickers are “free to wander from bush to bush, moving wherever you wish to go in the field.” Picking begins in late July and runs through August.
Go get your Berry on!