Yesterday morning, we went back to Patterson’s Fruit Farm to pick more peaches.  It was the same set up as last week.


Nick really wanted to wear this long sleeved shirt.  I didn’t think it was worth arguing about it, but I packed a short sleeve shirt just in case he decided he was hot.  Both Sally and Nick enjoyed a couple of peaches right off the trees.


We ran into some friends and they took a group shot of us.


Here’s Maria, Paula and Mandi.  Today was the first day that I met Mandy and Maria, but Paula and I went picking raspberries a few weeks back.  We ended up picking another full bushel of peaches.


I wish that peach season was longer, but I’m so glad that we have pick your own available near by.  Peaches are super easy to pick and Patterson’s is only 20 minutes from our house in Mayfield Heights.  Since I canned some and made jam last week, I think I’ll be able to can this week’s bounty.  I have a peach post planned for this week to help document what I’ve learned about processing my crop.

 Posted by at 9:15 PM  Tagged with:

Yesterday, the kids and I ran a ton of errands.  We went to 8 different places before nap time.  I was glad that myself and the kids were in a great mood all morning.  Toward the end of our trip, we stopped at a friend’s house to pick cucumbers and visit.

I never realized that cucumbers look a lot like squash when they grow.  They also have little prickles on them.  Nick checked out the cucumber patch.


It was fun to find them under the big leaves.


We ended up getting 9 of them.  I think I’m going to make pickles and/or relish even though these aren’t pickling cucumbers.  I read that the texture will be a bit different, but they should work just fine.


Our next public picking was for peaches this morning.  I’ll have more about that tomorrow.


Yesterday, we went tomato picking.  We went back to Rainbow Farms since they were the first ones in the area to open u-pick tomatoes for the 2011 season.  We last visited Rainbow Farms for blackberry picking. Other farms will have tomatoes soon, they are just waiting for more ripening.

We met our friends for picking and it works out well.  One of us stays outside with the kids and the other goes into the market.  That makes for a lot less unloading and reloading of children since we have 5 between us.  For tomatoes, you stop by the shed for 1/2 bushel sized baskets and head to the field.


Since our last visit, everything had great signs.  It was so easy to find.  For future reference, there is a bathroom with running water in this barn.  That turned out to be a good thing for us.


Seems that Nick and Sally liked the dirt more than tomatoes.


At some point, Sally was eating the dirt – yuck!  She also ate a tomato or two.


The tomatoes at Rainbow are field grown on the ground.  It was picked over, but we managed to pick quite a few tomatoes.  I ended up with 2 of the 1/2 bushel baskets – so 1 bushel of tomatoes.


You leave the baskets and transfer the tomatoes to containers that you bring from home or misc. boxes that can be found at the shed.  Since we had just picked peaches on Saturday, I had great boxes to use for bringing home my tomatoes.

Each 1/2 bushel was $9.  So, I paid $18 for the tomatoes.  I’m currently simmering some tomato sauce in the crockpot.  I’m going to can all of them, but I am unsure if it will be crushed tomatoes, sauce, paste or a combo.  This is my first time with tomatoes, so I’m still in the intimidated stage.  It won’t take long to figure out my process.


We’ll probably try out another farm or two for tomatoes while they are still in season.  Hmmm… I think I need to buy more canning jars, lids and rings.  It’s not even apple season yet!


Today, we went back to Patterson Fruit Farm.  Our last trip there was on June 23rd when we picked strawberries for the last time of the 2011 season.  Today’s trip was all about peaches!  Peaches are one of my favorite fruits to eat with my oatmeal.  I could eat them almost everyday.  I have blueberries in the freezer for the other days.

The peach picking is new at Pattersons.  I believe this is the second year.  They only have peach picking for 2 weekends.  So, that’s 4 days of picking.  They are open from 9 AM – 5 PM, but it’s more realistic to say they are open from 9 AM until they are picked out for the day.  The peach picking is at 8765 Mulberry Road.  Pattersons also has a market on Caves Road.  Once you arrive, it’s a simple drive to the peaches by following the arrows.  You park right in front of the peach trees.  There’s not too much walking involved.  We did bring the stroller and we were glad to have it so we could carry the peaches.


We approached the tent and were greeted by a nice gentleman working and this sign.  A 1/2 bushel of peaches is $25 and holds approximately 27 pounds.  You buy the container of choice and head to fill it up.  It was easy.  The trees were full of peaches.  We were instructed to pick only the ones that were “big and plump”.  We walked to the end of the rows of peaches where it wasn’t crowded and didn’t have any trouble filling up our container.


Stephen joined us today, which also made the picking go faster.


Nick and Sally picked a couple of peaches.  Of course, they had to try them out.


While Stephen was busy picking, they were busy eating them.  Sally could live off fruit.


We ran into some friends and were able to get a group shot.  It’s always fun to get a photo of the 4 of us.  That doesn’t happen often enough.


We ended up picking 2 half-bushels of peaches.  We didn’t weigh them, but it’s approximately 54 pounds of peaches for $50.  These containers are cardboard boxes that are approximately 8 inches tall.  I was going to spend the morning canning the peaches, but I don’t think they are quite soft enough for the skins to come off easily when I boil them, so I will probably be canning on Monday and Tuesday.  I’m hoping to can slices, jam, sauce and peach honey.


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Yesterday, we traveled back to Rainbow Farms.  Last time we were there, we picked currants, but this time it was for blackberries.

It rained off and on during our 45 minute trip to Madison, but we were greeted with blue skies when we arrived.  We were told that they were pretty picked over from Monday, but Tina let us go out and see what we could find.  We had met our friends there.  It’s always nice to have an extra adult around and it’s also nice when we are the only ones picking.  We don’t have to worry so much about the kids getting in the way of other pickers.


This photo of Sally says it all!


We ended up picking 5 pounds of blackberries.  I thought that was pretty good considering that they were pretty picked out when we started.  They are $3.25 a pound and I ended up paying $14.90.  The math is slightly off due to my container credit.  If you bring your own containers, they weigh them and don’t charge you for that part.  If you use their containers, you end up paying $3.25 a pound for them.  We picked up another dozen corn while we were there ($5).


I was intrigued by the melons.  We bought one passport melon for $2.50 and 2 personal size orange melons ($3 for the two).  The passport one is a cross between a honeydew and a cantaloupe.  We haven’t tried the orange melon yet.  So, I ended up spending $25.40 total.


We’re looking forward to returning next week for peppers and tomatoes.


Yesterday, we returned to Wintergreen Tree Farm for the 4th and probably final time for blueberries this season.  Even though my freezers are bursting with blueberries, I can’t seem to get enough of them.

We ended up staying there for 3 hours.  This was the longest that the kids had lasted for picking anything all year.

They started out playing on the blanket (after eating a few blueberries).


After they got bored with the blanket, they walked around, picked a few berries and hung out.  For a few minutes, I thought I was going to get tired before them.  I knew I had picked a lot of berries when I needed to use one of their buckets for the rest of the berries.  The picking was pretty good, but a good picking day is a mix of weather, farm, cost, drive, amount of fruit available, temperament of the kids, etc.  Yesterday was definitely one of the best days yet!

Back at the shed, we talked to Julie for a few minutes.  Sometimes, she balances these wooden sticks while she is working at the shed.  She let Nick and Sally play with them.  I was glad they didn’t hit each other, but we had a couple of close calls.


Julie took a picture of us together.  It’s nice to remember to get group photos.


We ended up with 12.6 pounds of blueberries for $18.95 ($1.50 per pound).  It was the most we had picked in one day all season.  We’ve had blueberries, blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, and blueberry oatmeal.  I’m glad that we’ll have some in the freezer to enjoy for a few months.


Blueberry season is winding down.  We ended up picking 7 times at 4 different farms.  We kept going back to Wintergreen and are already excited to see what chestnuts are all about later in the year.  Meanwhile, blackberries are next and should be ready for picking next week.


On Thursday, after we finished up at Secor Nursery, we headed up the road to meet some more friends at Rainbow Farms.  Turns out, this farm is only 1.4 miles further.  Since they don’t open until 10 AM, we had plenty of time for the raspberries first.  When we arrived, they had just opened the market.  Rainbow was on my list for strawberry picking, but we never made it while they were in season.  My friend was glad to see that they had currants.  The picking wasn’t so great since it was the last week for them.  It was also very hot by the time we started picking around 10:30 AM.


I ended up buying a dozen sweet corn for $5.00 that was just picked that morning.  We’ve already had it for 2 meals and it’s outstanding.  I also picked up 2 of these squash for .75 each.  I think they are called pear squash.  They are a summer squash similar to zucchini and yellow squash.


Currants were $2.25 a pound and I ended up with .71 pounds paying $1.60 for them.  This is a rather small bowl.  Since I didn’t have any concrete planned uses and the thought of taking the kids for slushes seems better than the hot field, I was fine with a small amount.  I am planning to cook them in a roast recipe in place of cranberries.


We liked Rainbow Farms and will go back in a couple of week for thorn less blackberries.

Rainbow Farms is located at 2464 Townline Rd., Madison, OH 44057  440-259-4924


Yesterday, we returned to Secor Nursery to pick blueberries.  We first visited Secor back on June 21st to pick strawberries.  Now that we are getting more familiar with farms and their locations, I have realized that there are at least 3 U-pick farms within 5 miles of each other in the Perry area.


Nick, Sally and I had made plans to meet up with our new friends Paula and her daughter.  They are also in the Fresh Fork CSA and I met Paula through my CSA blogging.  I quickly figured out that we had a lot in common (couponer, 3 year old and CSA) and we decided to meet up for picking.


Here’s a photo of me with all 3 kids.  It was a really hot day, but the sky was extremely blue.


When we arrived about 8:15 AM, we found out that U-pick was closed for blueberries.  I know we should always call ahead, but I was surprised that they were closed to allow for more ripening so soon after opening this week.  We like to get to the farms when they open, so I should get in the habit of calling the day before the check on crops.  They were going to let us pick anyway, but we opted for raspberries.

We got lost trying to find the raspberries and called the market from the field.  I’m pretty good with directions, but had no idea where east was from where we were standing.  One of the farmers came out in a truck and pointed us in the right direction.


I had never picked raspberries before.  They have prickles, but it wasn’t too bad.  They are pretty easy to pick, but they are also highly perishable and pretty expensive.  Some we just ate plain and the rest I put in the freezer for ice cream, raspberry lemonade or other treats later.  When later season berries come into season, we’ll probably splurge and pick for jam.

I ended up spending $8.52 on these raspberries.  They were $3.89 per pound, so I ended up with 2.19 pounds.  I was debating cucumbers from the market and Paula was buying some, so we split a basket of them.  I think they were seconds and 10 were $2.  Paula gave me half and told me my money wasn’t any good with her.  Thanks Paula!


It was a great, hot outing with new friends and I have a feeling we’ll be meeting up with them again soon.


Today, we went back to Wintergreen Tree Farm for more blueberries.  We don’t usually pick on Monday, but I had friends that wanted to meet and Monday was the best day.

Nick and Sally are quite at home in the blueberry patch.  They enjoyed seeing Julie (the attendant) again.  It’s fun that Nick talks about her all the way to the farm.  They are also getting better at entertaining themselves while I pick.

Today wasn’t the best picking day.  The patch was a bit picked over from the weekend.  It was very hot and humid (even though we got there at 8:30 AM.  Sally has decided that she hates bugs.  Every time she sees a fly, mosquito, ant or any other creepy crawly, she screams at the top of her lungs and sometimes yells BUG!  She was happiest when I was holding her.  It was really hard to hold a 28 pound squirmy girl and pick blueberries with one hand.

Not to worry, Sally was happy to sit in the stroller when Nick announced that he had pooped.  Sometimes potty training is going better than others.  Today, I was thankful for the port-a-jon and that I had restocked the wipes.  Let’s just say that I was glad that the new pack of 40 was enough.


Our friend Debbie met us to pick today.  She had not picked blueberries before.  Check out her loot for the day.  I think she had about 7.5 pounds.  I managed to pick 4.6 pounds.  I thought that was good with the above distractions.


Picking should be better later in the week with the pending hot weather.  There are still tons of unripe berries on the bushes.  I think we are going to pick currants in Madison on Thursday, but we’ll probably be at Wintergreen one more time before the season ends.


Yesterday, after we finished our first blueberry picking, I decided to go up the street and take a look at Blue Jay Orchard.  The kids were already starting to get worn out, so this trip was really just to check the place out.

They are located in Hiram, Ohio.  They are off route 422 a couple of miles east of route 44.  From our house in Mayfield Heights, it would have been about 36 minutes.  Since we left from another farm, it was only about 15 minutes away.

I love the sign that you see from route 422 and the one near the entrance for the farm.


There’s a useful hours and time post with a phone number.  I had in my mind that they didn’t open until 10 AM, which is why we hadn’t visited there yet, but in fact, they open at 8 AM.  As we pulled in, we noticed that they have the bushes covered with netting to keep the birds out.  Apparently, blueberry patches can lose a significant yield to birds.  Since they don’t have a lot of acreage, they found it worth the money to invest in the netting.


Sally and Nick are really getting the hand of the process.  It’s nice for me that they understand picking and how fruits and vegetables are grown.  Yesterday, we picked in the back.  Turns out they have picking near the entrance and then also toward the back of their farm.  The signs were easy to navigate.


Here’s a photo of the proprietors, Lowell and Mary Evans.  They were very nice to us.  Lowell shared that they don’t spray the berries, but unfortunately have to spray the apples.  This was a tough year due to the hail and the apple crop isn’t fairing as well as they would like.  I’m not a blueberry plant connoisseur, but the blueberries looked quite plentiful to me.  After picking, we took our berries up to the barn to have them weighed and pay.  The barn is also their market.  Since the kids were in the car, I didn’t take any time to look around.


I love the back of the sign as you exit.  It was such a beautiful property.  Since we had already picked 7 pounds of berries earlier in the day, we just picked a few here.


We ended up with 0.9 pounds for $2.80.  This is only a couple of cups of berries.  Blueberries are $2.95 a pound.  There was a sign when we went to the barn that they had a 5 pound minimum, but I had no idea when we were picking.  I suspect most people have at least 5 pounds whenever they pick, so I doubt the minimum is a huge issue.  Lindsey said not to worry about it.  That was good, because it was not going to be practical for us to pick more.

We have some other farms to visit for blueberries before the season ends, but I suspect we’ll try this orchard out for apples in the fall.  I’m glad apple season is long, since there are so many farms to visit!

Blue Jay Orchard is located at 17909 Rapids Road, Hiram, OH 44234.  Phone: 440-834-4318.