I have been attempting to go berry picking since I moved to Southwest Florida 11 years ago. This past week I received a tip that Berry Best Farms expanded their picking hours due to their large crop of sun ripened organic blueberries. I, at last, jumped at the opportunity.
With the promise of a fresh baked blueberry pie for the family, I loaded up the mini van and headed to north to Punta Gorda with the family to see if more than a decade of anticipation could be met.
We took Burnt Store Road to North Jones Loop for a more relaxing and laid back drive.
The farm is nestled in a pretty neighborhood off the beaten track. If you go, bring directions, the farm is quite the hidden gem. We pulled into the private drive and up to a informal kiosk where the owners handed out bright colored buckets and hand disinfectant. Since they don’t use pesticides it’s a good idea to wear closed toed shoes and bug spray.
The first thing I noticed was how peaceful and clean the farm is. The bushes are lined in tidy rows. Wide grasses footpaths make walking easy for all abilities. The farm is easily accessible for even the tiniest of berry pickers.
We arrived early and took our time wondering around the farm. In roughly 40 minutes we had just over 3 pounds of berries. It would not have been difficult to double our haul in half the time, but we were there for a family outing rather than stock up on produce.
Berry Best Farms charge $5.50 a pound for their organic blueberries. For the delicious fruit and a morning in the fresh air with the family, the price felt like a bargain to us.
I have no idea what took me so long to wander out to the farm to pick my own blueberries. Now that I have, it’s time to find a recipe for that pie I promised.
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Jessica Hehir is a regular contributor to 365 Things to Do In Southwest Florida. You can visit Jessica on her blog Sugar and The Spice, follow her on Twitter @sugarnthespice or try to keep up with her on her Facebook page.