Let me share my blueberry picking struggles from this past Saturday. Don’t worry, it isn’t too dramatic or long, but it was a good reminder of how flexible one needs to be when seeking out seasonal produce.
Each summer my husband and I head down to Maiden Rock, Wisconsin to pick blueberries at Rush River Produce. It is my favorite place to pick blueberries and the drive is beautiful, but since we had friends tagging along this year, we tried to go somewhere a tad closer. After a bit of research, I decided to go to Little Hill Berry Farm in Northfield. They had recently gained organic certification and as an added bonus, they are close to Cherry Leaf Farm, a brand new cherry farm (yes, cherries in Minnesota), so we could stop at both places quite easily.
I started to finalize details on Thursday so everyone was on the same page for Saturday morning. I had been watching Little Hill Berry Farm’s Facebook page and learned they were picked out (ran out of ripe berries) by 9am each day so I rallied the troops and agreed upon a very early departure time to not miss out. Then, the bad news came: there would be no picking on Saturday to allow berries to ripen for next week. Shoot!
Not to worry, I had some alternatives and decided on Blueberry Fields of Stillwater. It was somewhat close, had good reviews, and would allow for lunch in Stillwater afterward. Nowhere near the cherry farm, but that’s okay. That evening I rushed to compose the confirmation message to my friends and then more bad news: there would be no picking on Saturday to allow berries to ripen for next week. What?!
Knowing that Rush River Produce had never let us down, I called and was happy to hear there were plenty of blueberries to pick until 2pm both Saturday and Sunday. No worries about being picked out and no need to be there right when the doors open. “Take your time, enjoy the drive, and see you when you get here,” said the friendly voice on the other end. Enjoy we did: the weather was mild enough to drive with the windows down and each of us walked away with a box (and belly) full of freshly picked blueberries, vowing to return to Rush River again next year.
Since I’ve already done the research, here are a few farms to check out. As always, CALL before you head out and be flexible to change paths in your quest for fresh berries.
Rush River Produce in Maiden Rock, WI. (90-minute drive from Minneapolis)
Silkey Gardens in Northfield (1-hour drive from Minneapolis)