UPDATED ON 28 JUNE 2020 - This article is only to provide general information and was published before tthe lockdown. Please check ahead for details of restrictions, operating limitations and any other information.
Apparently, there are many New Yorkers who are wistful about the pastoral wilds of upstate NY in summer months; and they ask themselves the question, where’s the delicious blueberry picking near me? Where do I find the farms? Is it July yet?
What is it about blueberry picking that makes it a desirable experience?
For one thing, blueberry picking is not something that you do in a British garden with an itty-bitty, bijou basket carried in the crook of an untaxed elbow. It’s back breaking work and not under the greatest conditions.
Typically, it’s cold when you arrive at a farm market in the morning and it gets hot in the afternoon. And probably so hellishly humid it makes you long for winter. The litany of discomfort includes bending over, stooping, kneeling, squatting, sitting and waving one’s hands to ward off the bugs. Oh yes, there are bugs in the fields. Horseflies, like bandersnatches, are known to bite through clothing. Lesser creepies like the mosquitoes, ticks and blackflies might not.
And then, with all the bending and picking and plunking and dislodging the wasp, the next morning you are sore, your arms hurt and your back is decidedly orthopaedically challenged. And of course, sunburn. Unless you covered yourself and cocooned yourself from the elements you set out to experience from your blueberry picking near me pursuit.
The business of the berry pick has even inspired evocative poetry, including this one from the poet laureate, Seamus Heaney, (despite his alluring reference to a rat-grey fungus).
And yet, people love to go blueberry picking. There are family farms like Lewin Farms and Alstede Farms.
There’s something about being connected to our food that inspires us. It’s why we like cooking shows on TV and recipe videos online. It’s why we like looking at images of vegetable markets with overflowing tubs of produce and berries - blueberries and raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and other pickable fruit like apples and sweet cherries.
This why so many New York City residents make the hike to a U-Pick farm in upstate New York, June through August, to spend a day picking whatever is in season following the quest for a “strawberry patch near me”. And, depending on the time of year and in geo-specific crusades for, blueberry picking near me, apple picking near me, apple orchards near me, U-Pick farms near me, strawberry patch near me and in fall, pumpkin picking near me - the business of gathering being more socially acceptable form of hunting; nothing more primal and human than to eat what you kill. Or pick. The farms offering picking, stomping, ice cream, and farm animals for the kids to pet.
At the time of this writing, it is June. And blueberry picking starts about now - early July and August being the season for it. And upstate New York is replete with “u pick farms” where to pick blueberries is the order of a sun drenched day.
This website has quite a list of places to pick blueberries. A list of over 200 blueberry / strawberry farms, in fact. You can go to this search result page and then narrow down your search to find the “berry farm near me” - just pick the region closest to you.
And if you like getting out there picking blueberries in places more exotic than Whole Foods, you’ll enjoy the bugs, the heat, the drizzles and even an itinerant wasp. And of course, the joy of popping into your mouth, the first of many blueberries that have just soaked in the sun.
Here's a weirdly compelling video of someone picking blueberries in the wild:
COOL FACTS ABOUT BLUEBERRIES