The Last Days of Summer Harvest: Blueberry Picking

I’ve been in search of u-pick cherry farms for quite a while, but missed the season (in the Midwest it’s from late July to Mid-August). My next craving was for peaches, so a little research told us there are plenty of u-pick farms to choose from in Coloma, Michigan which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from our home in Chicago.

Hand-Picked in Sawyer, Michigan

Freshly Picked Blueberries /The Blueberry Patch in Sawyer, Michigan

Next came the semi-spontaneous decision to drive out to Michigan for the day, in search of peaches, apples and anything else we could pick from a tree or bush ourselves. That was last Sunday, one of the last weekends for peach and blueberry picking to be had in this area.  Cameras, rough clothing and sun hats in tow, the drive seemed worth all the effort. Just imagine the peach cobbler we could have for dessert tomorrow…

Problem is– we were on Illinois time, arriving  just in the nick of time (or so we thought) before the orchards closed. We were not on Michigan time, which is an hour ahead.

Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

I was terribly disappointed, watching all the others who did arrive in time frolicking in the orchards and stowing away bushels of peaches in their trunks to carry home…for the peach cobbler they would probably have for dessert tomorrow.

Beautiful Cherry Tomatoes

Yellow Cherry Tomatoes from Fruit Acres in Coloma, Michigan

My husband gently reminded me that we could stop by the corner stand called Fruit Acres and just buy the same stuff that came from the orchards. “But it’s just not the same.”  I felt like a child who arrived too late at an amusement park or something, but I gave in. “Ok, let’s go see what they’ve got.

Tiny Squash

Small Squash & Eggplant/Fruit Acres Farm in Coloma, Michigan

They had the most beautiful selection of heirloom vegetables I’d seen in a very long time–and such a nice quantity, looking like pieces of table art instead of edible fruits and vegetables. I was back at the amusement park….
Purple Eggplants on My Table

The most beautiful eggplant- I’ve only seen this variety in European markets

I really had no idea what I would do with any of it but with all this variety I did know the collection would inspire some great desserts, soups, tarts or stews to be had. I piled up fresh corn, eggplant, squash, cherry tomatoes, Michigan apples, and the purplest plums I thought surely only grew in my childhood backyard.

With our goods in tow, we headed back to Chicago–with one small detour.

My husband reminded me of the u-pick blueberry farm, The Blueberry Patch, we went to last summer. At that time it was bustling with people picking berries, eating free fresh corn dipped in butter and buying interesting blueberry items like blueberry blossom honey and of course the berry preserves.

Weigh Your Goods

This time, there were no options to buy already-picked berries (which was what we wanted). Instead, the farm was pretty much void of any workers and left signs to customers to leave money for the amount of berries picked. An honor system of payment you don’t really see much of anymore.

How to Pay for Your Blueberries

We had to chuckle at the fact that when and where we wanted to pick, we couldn’t; when we wanted to buy already-picked, we had to pick ourselves…c’est la vie, right?  That’s life.

The Blueberry Patch in Sawyer, Michigan

 U-Pick Blueberries/ The Blueberry Patch in Sawyer, Michigan

Beautiful Blueberry Bush

And oh, what a good one. The orchard was quiet, serene. Save for a few fun-loving pickers who were really enjoying themselves, there wasn’t a sound to be heard.

It’s the end of summer. I’d like to capture it in a bottle, or maybe in a jar of blueberry preserves.

Resources

This weekend (Sept. 12-14) may be the last weekend for peaches & blueberries, but you can always head out to Michigan or other Midwest locations for apple-picking. What a great way to spend the early fall with your family and friends and a great way to bring healthy food onto your plate.

Fruit Acres Farm and U-Pick

(269)468- 5076.

U-Pick hours 10am-5pm. Saturday and Sunday only.

Farm Market hours everyday 9am-7pm. From Chicago, 1-94 to Exit #39 (Coloma)

The Blueberry Patch

(269) 426-4521.

Holloway Drive,

Sawyer, Michigan

10 comments

  1. Can I tell you how jealous I’m feeling? Now I need to hunt down a farm in my area.

    • @ Bushra- Mashallah, masha’allah. Please, no need to feel jealous. Florida has wonderful fruits and veggies we can’t grow here: mangoes, papaya, guava, lemons, limes, avocados, oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit… Need I go on?!!

  2. Oh wow! I love blue berries, but have never seen one on a tree or is it a bush? yummm!!

    • @peanutts- it’s actaully a tall bush, but they look like small trees from afar. Beautiful up-close as you can see from the photo!

  3. It’s always sad to see summer end but I’m always happy for Fall to get here. I could honestly care less about winter. I have never went blueberry picking….I need to go next year!

  4. Soinds delicoous great recipes

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