Today we had another pick up for the Geauga Family Farms CSA.  It’s week 6 already.  The amount of produce has really picked up the last couple of weeks.

Here’s what we received in our family share:


Let’s take a closer look.

Black cherry tomatoes, cucumber


Pickling cucumbers, potatoes


Blueberries, green onions


Onions, peppers (probably hot!)


Cabbage, red raspberries


Lettuce, Swiss chard


Tomatoes, zucchini


Yellow squash


Personally, I’m not much of a tomato fan (unless they are in BBQ sauce, ketchup or pasta sauce), but the black cherry tomatoes were my husband’s favorite last year, so I was happy to see them today.  The pickles we made a couple of weeks back should be ready, so we’ll eat them this week and make some more with today’s share.  I bought some whole wheat lasagna noodles at the beginning of the season.  I think this is the week for veggie lasagna with squash as the highlight.

Some of our raspberries were moldy,  I sorted them and used the good ones in raspberry lemonade this evening.  It’s so refreshing on a hot day like today.  The blueberries probably won’t make it past breakfast in the morning.

I’m going to assume the peppers are hot.  Last year, almost all of the peppers that we received were hot.  I had a tough time using them since my kids and I don’t really like HOT.  For the most part, I ended up chopping and freezing them and then putting them in crockpot recipes like chili a bit at a time.

Have a great week!


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.


Nick, Sally and I have picked 9 times so far.  We’ve visited 8 different farms.  Wintergreen Tree Farm is the first farm that we have repeated this summer.  We love blueberries and had an awesome plentiful picking experience on Tuesday, so we returned today.

Here are my favorite photos from today.  Nick and Sally are all ready to pick with their buckets (which are really temporary holding locations for a few berries that they eat).  The enthusiasm of picking wore off quickly and we made good use of our blanket once again.  They get lots of fresh air and I get serenaded while I pick berries.


Here’s Sally and Nick with the attendant Julie.  She already knows the kids.  Nick was concentrating on holding the bucket of berries and therefore was not looking at the camera.  7 pounds is heavy for a 3 year old.


We ended up picking 7.3 pounds of blueberries for $10.91.  They are $1.50 a pound.


Today was the 7th pick up for the Fresh Fork CSA.  It’s hard to believe we’re 1/3 through the season already.  As far as CSAs go, we’ve been receiving many familiar and easy to use items this year.  Here’s the list of what we were expecting today.

Small CSA:

  • 1 lb green beans
  • 1 bunch cilantro (last week we substituted green onions, this week it will be cilantro)
  • 2 ct zucchini
  • 2 ct squash
  • 1 whole pasture raised chicken
  • 1 head leaf lettuce
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • Approx 1.5 lbs cling peaches
  • Approx 1.5 lbs slicing tomatoes

Here’s what we received:






There was a problem with the chicken order this week.  Apparently, they don’t fair well with thunderstorms.  One of the farms lost a bunch of them this week.  So, we had the option of a whole chicken or a roast.  We had a chicken thawing in the fridge already, so we opted for the roast.  Also, last week, we were shorted our zucchini, so we have 4 this week to make up for it.

The pint of blueberries seems really small to us.  Lately, we’ve been picking them by the quart or even gallon.  Everyone in our house loves blueberries, so these will probably make it until breakfast tomorrow before they are gone.

I read a recipe for zucchini pizza dough the other day. I’m going to try it out this weekend. I’ll write it up if it turns out well.

We picked up a container of local cream cheese while we were at the truck.  I don’t know how much it is, but I’ll let you know when I pay for it next week.  It was offered as part of the large package this week and will be for sale regularly when we pick up.  Robert wasn’t sure of the price, so we’ll settle up next week.



Today, we had GREAT blueberry picking at Wintergreen Tree Farm in Mantua.  It took us about 40 minutes to get there from Mayfield Heights.  They are located near route 44, south of 422.

We saw a couple of Pick your own signs along our route.  They made it easy to find the location without driving past.  This U-Pick farm is low key.  There is one attendant who works out of a large shed type of building. We were greeted by Julie.  This is her family’s farm, so she has worked here a long time. She was very friendly and especially nice to the kids.


The parking lot was very close to the road.  So, truck entertainment was enjoyed by Sally and Nick.


The kids start out picking.  They are usually excited to pick when we first arrive.


There were so many blueberries on the bushes.  I think I only picked at 4 large bushes.  That’s 2 pounds per bush!  They were huge bushes.


The kids got bored early, so we got the blanket out of the car.  They sang “row row row your boat” complete with clapping at the end of the song.  Nick makes up verses just like me so it’s extra fun to hear him sing.


Julie took a photo of us when we finished.  I’m wearing a 32 oz. yogurt container with string around my neck to allow for 2 handed picking.  It worked great.  Whenever it started to get full or the kids needed something, I dumped the berries into the larger (provided) bucket.  When we were done, Julie weighed our berries which we took home in a large plastic bag.  Then, I put them into containers.  We froze the 3 containers on the right, I made a blueberry pie and we left some in the fridge for snacking and blueberry muffins.


We ended up picking 8.08 pounds of berries.  Our total was $12.12.  They are $1.50 per pound.  For reference, there is about one and a half pounds to a quart of blueberries.  So far this summer, we have done U-Pick 8 times without repeating a farm.  Since blueberries are my favorite, I think we’ll be going back to Wintergreen Tree Farm a couple of more times while we can get good picking.

Wintergreen Tree Farm is located at 3898 Winchell Rd, Mantua, OH 44255.  Their phone number is (330) 221-3835.


Today, we continued our U-Pick adventures at Voytko Farms.  It took us about 40 minutes to get there from Mayfield Heights.  This time of year, it’s all about blueberries.  This farm also has currants and raspberries, but we didn’t even check out their current ripening status.

There is a huge sign as you approach the farm.  It would be hard to pass them up!  There’s a barn to check in and get information on picking and a board with prices and locations.  Out back, there’s a bucket washing station and a port-a-jon.



It’s just a short walk to the blueberry bushes.  Some of them are quite large.


Sally was fascinated with the buckets.  It doesn’t take much to entertain her.  Nick was enjoying a snack.  I asked him if there were any in his bucket.  He replied, “I’m eating them so my tummy can carry them.”  It just doesn’t get better than the rationale of a 3 year old.

Even though Sally has been walking more, I still like to have the stroller in case she gets tired.  Today, it was useful for carrying our berries, water and supplies.  I use a bungee cord to attach the bucket to the stroller handle.  It makes for great hands free picking.  Luckily, the kids didn’t tip the stroller.  We had a close call.


Our friends from the J joined us again today.  We picked for a little over an hour  The kids weren’t as into it today as some, but we still left with some berries.  We made it home just in time to see the last shuttle take off.  The radio was counting down from 2 minutes when we were a block away from home.  Our timing was great!

We ended up with 3.25 pounds of blueberries for $4.88.  They were $1.50 a pound.  I also picked up another quart of maple syrup.  It was $17.00.  I’ve seen it in the $15-$18 range and I like the support the local farms that have U-Pick whenever I can.


The blueberries went straight into the freezer.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to pick quite a few more before this season ends.  I’d love to have 3 gallons frozen before we move to the next crop.

Voytko Farms is located at 11391 Franks Road, Auburn Township, OH 44023.


Yesterday, we picked our first blueberries and currants of the season.  We traveled to Greenfield Berry Farm in Peninsula.  We had wanted to try this farm out during strawberry season, but there were too many farms and not enough time.  The family was already going to Peninsula today to visit a Farmer’s Market and go to Century Cycles, so we stopped by for a bit.  I ran into Michelle from the farm at the market and was able to verify that they were open for picking from 10-2 PM.  I also bought some local honey from her stand.  The downside of this farm is that they open at 10 AM.  This is a late schedule for my kids.  Most of the time, we try to be done picking by 10 AM so we can travel home, eat lunch and have nap time.

The farm is on Major Road, near the intersection of Oak Hill.  It was very easy to find and would be about 40 minutes from our house in Mayfield Heights if we were driving straight there.  It’s actually pretty close to 303/271 interchange.

Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits for U-Pick.  I love the ease of freezing and how versatile they are in pancakes, muffins, oatmeal, etc.  Blueberry season is fairly long and should be around for the entire month of July and maybe into August.

I loved the sign at the road for the farm.  The other one is near where you park.  It’s simple and effective.


After we talked to the farmer, we took our containers and walked a short distance to the field.  We past some nice flowers on our way.


Nick has really been enjoying all of the different farms.  Since this was the holiday weekend, Stephen joined us for some picking.  It was the first time all 4 of us went together.  He’s picking red currants here.  We didn’t pick many, but I hope to make a bit of strawberry currant spread or sauce.


Sally is starting to learn how to pick.  Too bad she doesn’t understand the colors yet.  Here’s a photo of Farmer Daniel.  He’s in charge.


We didn’t stay too long since we had errands to run, but we managed to pick $10 worth of fruit.  It’s maybe a quart and a half of blueberries and a cup of currants.  The prices are a little higher at this farm, but they are naturally grown, so no sprays.  It’s similar to organic but without all of the paperwork.  The farm is also part of the Countryside Initiative to rehabilitate farms in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park area.  I really appreciate this aspect of this particular farm.