Pickers point way to bounty of fresh berries
U-pick fans find satisfaction in staining their fingers, whether they pluck farm-grown blueberries or back-alley blackberries
Starting this Friday (June 19), Driediger Farms will be one of many in the Lower Mainland to welcome U-pick enthusiasts. “The [cold winter] weather has caused us to start a little later this year,” says Rhonda Driediger, owner of the 50-year-old family business, who is predicting an average-sized strawberry crop this season. That said, she encourages potential pickers to call before heading out to the farm. “We do sell out [of ripe berries] on many days,” she says, “and given the current popularity of the food-miles movement, I expect more people will be wanting to pick their own berries this year.”
Driediger offers some words of advice for U-pickers, no matter which farm they frequent. She suggests that you check payment options before you begin picking: some farms are cash-only and don’t take credit or debit cards. Wear sun block and a hat and keep a bottle of water handy, as it can get quite hot in the berry fields, especially on sunny days. “And please, please leave your dog at home,” Driediger says.
For more tips, driving directions, and notices regarding the availability of particular fruit crops (not everything ripens at the same time—see sidebar for a general guide), be sure to call the farm you want to visit or check its Web site before leaving home.
For a list of farms where you and your family can buy or pick berries, see the top sidebar in this article.