Today I took Nick and Sally to Eddy’s Fruit Farm in Chesterland to pick apples. We met a friend of Nick’s there, as well as his parents and grandmother. I enjoyed meeting them, and it turns out that his Dad and I have some links via my alma mater.

In any event, the purpose of the day was apples. As Lyn may have mentioned, the tree fruit crop this year was hurt badly by this spring’s weather. Some U-pick farms don’t have picking at all this year, while others, like Eddy’s, are open for picking fewer days than usual. That said, the picking was great today. The trees were laden with ripe apples. Here and there they were even bunched like grapes down a heavily-bent branch.

As usual, the picking on the low branches wasn’t very good near the entrance. There were still some to get up high (I’m over six feet tall, which helps) and, of course, the farthest corner of the orchard is always the least-picked.

We started with Golden Delicious. Nick spent some time picking with his friend, while Sally picked with me. She was full of giggles when she picked one apple and had the other one come along for the ride.

There was a chilly breeze blowing despite the sunny day, and Sally was cold. Worse, she was missing her nap, so she soon asked to ride in the stroller. A few minutes later, she asked, “Daddy, can I pick from the stroller?”  I found a low-hanging branch and let her try. After she picked two of the four apples on that branch, she was done and ready to nestle under her blanket. We switched to picking some kind of red apple, and Nick decided to give one a try. It disappeared quickly, so it must be good.


We picked 49 pounds of apples, which comes to about a bushel and a quarter. I was impressed with our haul until Lyn told me it took 21 pounds of apples to can 7 quarts of applesauce. Ah, well, I can pat myself on the back for hauling all 49 pounds to the car while pushing a stroller and conversing with an inquisitive Nick. Yes, there are special skills daddies develop.

All in all, it was a good outing. We left a few apples on the trees, but if you go, be sure to call first to check hours and availability.


After the kids and I picked peaches on Sunday, we decided to stop and pick a few blackberries.  The blackberry patch was right off of 113 between the market and Wright Road.  We first arrived and found an empty table.  We left and went to pay for our peaches and checked on blackberries at the market and headed back over.  Apparently, the attendant had just taken a potty break.  I suggested a “back in 5 min” sign was in order.  She was very nice and the parking was close to the berries.


The attendant walked over to show us what we were looking for.  She wanted to make sure we knew there were good berries there if you look under the leaves and in the bushes.  Sally ate a red one and the attendant snapped at her because she didn’t want her to get sick.  Sally started crying.  She was mostly just very, very tired.


Nick found some black berries and Sally took a nap.  Don’t worry, we could see the car the whole time we were picking.  She was in the shade and the door was open.


We only picked a pound and a half.  It was $4.50 total.  It wasn’t really good picking.  When the field looks red upon arrival, that’s not a good sign.  I’m sure many people had picked on Saturday and probably earlier in the day on Sunday.


Even though we didn’t get many berries, it was fun to check out the crop.  I’m hoping to get some more closer to home next week since blackberries are great in jam and smoothies.


One of our favorite times of the year began today.  It’s time for U-Pick.

If you’ve never been picking before, here are a few things to consider.

  • Bring water, snacks, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. when you go to pick.
  • Some places want you to have your own containers.  Other places provide them.
  • Call ahead and make sure u-pick is open.  Many places only pick for a few hours a day depending on condition.
  • Most places are “reasonably” stroller friendly, but keep in mind you are in the fields – it’s a perfect time for the stroller with the big wheels.
  • Ask about restrooms or port-a-jon availability when you call to verify hours so you aren’t caught off guard, especially if you take little ones.
  • It’s nice to have correct change, so it’s a good idea to stock up on small bills for u-pick farms.
  • Some places will have parking close to the fields, but at others you will have a walk to get to picking.
  • is a great resource.

Also, pick your own isn’t usually cheaper than the local market or store.  Pick your own is about enjoying the experience, seeing how crops are grown and and enjoying fresh and local.

First up for the U-Pick season here is strawberries.  This year, strawberries were a bit later than normal due to all of the rain that we have had.  Today, we traveled to West Orchards Farm in Perry, Ohio. From our house in Mayfield Heights, it’s about 30 minutes away. It took us a few minutes longer today due to the construction on route 2.

The U-Pick here opened at 8am.  We arrived a few minutes after 8 and were the only ones doing U-pick!  Here’s the view of the entrance of the market along with a sign directing you to the picking area.


We were greeted by Allee who has worked at the farm for 5 years.  She’s a student at Mt. Union and works here during the summer.  She set us up with our containers and headed out to the field with us.  When it’s not busy, she picks.  West Orchards provides containers.  The kids each had a small basket and I had a larger container for berries.  We ended up picking 9 pounds of berries.  Here the strawberries were $2 per pound regardless of the number of pounds picked.


Nick enjoyed picking eating the strawberries.  He had a red face and fingers to show for it.


Sally spent most of the time in the stroller, so I didn’t get any good photos of her.  I’ll have to try to capture her next time.

We were able to park really close to the fields and there was a port-a-jon available as well.  We’ll definitely be returning to West Orchard.  If we don’t make it for more strawberries, we’ll definitely go out for sour cherries in a few weeks.

Nick, Sally and I hope to be picking a couple of times a week throughout the summer as we enjoy our seasonal fruits and vegetables that are available for U-Pick in the area.  I hope you enjoy our tour of the local U-Pick farms.

West Orchards Farm Market 3034 N. Ridge Rd.  (SR. 20)Perry, OH 44081 (440) 259-3192