Visiting the Farm
What should I bring?
- Containers/bags to take your berries home
- Sunblock and a hat if it’s sunny
- Bug spray
We supply picking containers, but you’re welcome to bring your own, if you prefer. We also have sunblock and bug spray if you forget.
Do you accept credit cards?
Are kids welcome?
How about dogs?
Yes, but they must be well-behaved, leashed, and stay near you as you pick. If you want to visit the llamas, you won’t be able to bring your dog into the barn or pasture area (llamas don’t like dogs).
Are there restrooms?
No, but the Kum & Go at the Tiffin I-80 exit has nice restrooms. We’re considering adding a composting toilet to the barn, but we’re not there yet.
Why pick my own when I can buy them at the store?
Freshly picked blueberries are an entirely different fruit from what you find at the grocery store. We promise. We actually weren’t very fond of blueberries until we visited a you-pick blueberry farm, and WOW. They’re juicy and tart and sweet—totally unlike the dry little marbles you pay too much for at the supermarket. You haven’t tasted a blueberry till you’ve eaten one fresh. Plus, we hope you’ll enjoy the experience of picking berries out in the countryside on a historic farm.
Conventionally raised blueberries (i.e., blueberries sprayed with chemicals to control for weeds and insect damage) contain 52 pesticide residues, according to the USDA Pesticide Data Program, several of which are known or probable carcinogens. The toxicity is so high that, in 2010, the U.S. Environmental Working Group placed conventionally raised blueberries on its “Dirty Dozen” list, recommending that people buy organic blueberries whenever possible (as well as many other fruits and vegetables whose skins you eat rather than peel off and discard). Read more here: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/dangers-pesticides-blueberries-87335.html.
Why $5 per pound?
We spent a lot of time deciding on pricing. We surveyed the price of organic blueberries in every store we could find them, then considered our own production costs (labor, organic fertilizer, mulch, etc.) as well as the costs associated with maintaining the setting for visitors. Though we provide a fruit crop, we’re also trying to provide visitors a special experience—gathering berries in a quiet rural setting beneath huge, ancient oak trees; touring a historic barn (c. 1875); watching the llamas; walking around our prairie and portion of forest reserve; playing ping-pong or bag toss… We’re open to bartering, though, and we’re currently in the process of getting authorized to accept SNAP benefits.
Do you offer pre-picked berries for sale?
No. We want to encourage the experience of picking your own berries rather than retail sale, so we don’t sell pre-picked berries.
How do I store my blueberries?
For short-term (week-long) storage:
- Go through the berries and discard any soft or damaged berries. Remove any stems.
- Don’t wash the berries before storing them (especially important for long-term storage). Washing can toughen the blueberries’ skin.
- Cool the berries to room temperature. This will prevent excessive condensation within the storage container. You can even spread them on paper towels or cookie sheets and place them in front of a fan for more effective drying.
- Select a storage container (Pyrex, Tupperware, or Ziploc bags will do) and put a folded paper towel in the container to absorb any condensation.
- Load the blueberries into the container and place in the refrigerator.
- Rinse before eating.
For long-term storage (up to 1 year):
- Follow steps 1-3 above.
- Spread the blueberries in a single layer on cookie sheets and place in the freezer until they’re frozen (no longer than 24 hours). This prevents them from clumping together in the storage containers.
- Transfer the berries to freezer bags or other freezer containers and seal tightly.
- Place in freezer!
- Rinse before eating.
Adapted from http://www.blueberrywoman.com/research.php
What’s the cloudy white coating on blueberries?
It’s called “bloom,” and it’s a natural, protective wax coating, similar to the coating on plums and apples. (It’s not pesticide residue; we never spray our bushes.) Bloom is completely tasteless and harmless. It protects the berries from certain bacteria and insects and keeps them moist. Read more