Friday, May 27, 2011

Pick Your Own Berries = Cheap Produce and Loads of Fun!

Yesterday, I got a wild hair and decided to take advantage of one of the last days to "pick your own berries" at a local farm in Mims. So, we headed out to the Holland Family Blueberry Farm ready to do some pickin'.
I was honestly surprised at how big the fields of blueberries were. It was a bit of a walk to get to the field that still had berries left, but really not bad. We started to see berries, and just kind of dove it and started picking.
Justin early on in the day :)
Me getting my pick on.
It took me a bit to get the hang of it, but I was soon in the swing of it. I even came across a surprise:
I thought this little guy was pretending to be a stem and he scared the heck out of me when I tried to shake it off to no avail. Justin was excited to see a stick bug.
The bushes in the middle area were really full of big, delicious looking berries. Most of the berries were ripe and ready to be picked and we were able to just slide our hands down the branch and pull off big bunches in one full swoop. My hands got a little stained but they sure smelled good :)
We ended up picking for about 2 hours and the time just flew by! We really had fun and it was more like a hunt than work. Even as were were walking out of the field, we would stop and pull of any good bunches we saw :)
Once we were finished, I had a pretty decent bucket full.
But of course Justin beat the pants off me with a full bucket and a grocery bag that was already full. 
And we never really do things like this anymore, so I had to photograph the evidence that we were both there.
I have no idea why Justin is making that face lol.
We went back to the girl at the front and she weighed our winnings for the day. I had 4.5 lbs and Justin almost exactly doubled mine with 8.75 lbs! He could go get a job as a field hand :) The field sells the berries you pick for $2 per pound, so our two bags full came out to $26.50! That's a lot of berries for a little amount.  I even went by the grocery store to see how much they were selling them for and wow:
Publix had 5.5 oz packages on sale for $2.99 each. If we had bought our berries from Publix, we would have spent $117 for the same amount. That's some serious savings!
Justin's bag
Here is a side view of the bag so you can see just how much is in there.
When we got home, we had to start cleaning and picking the little stem pieces off - which is rather a pain.

We didn't get very far before I had to start cooking some of them - I had to start the recipe that night, so we pulled out 3 cups of berries and put the rest in the fridge. After removing the 3 cups, the remaining berries completely filled 3 one gallon size Ziploc bags! I'm gonna be busy for quite a while with getting them frozen or preserved. Guess what my Fantabulous Food! posts are going to be about for the next little while :)

All in all, we had a blast! I absolutely recommend taking advantage of any local farms like this. Not only was it surprisingly fun, but we have saved so much money in the process! It may be a lengthy process but by the time the berries are all stored, we will have enough to last us for probably the rest of the year :) So get out there! Have some fun and get fruity at the same time :)

*Tomorrow 5/28, Saturday, will be the last day of the year to pick berries at Holland Farms. You should totally go because they have lowered the price to $1 per pound! I'm jealous I can't go!

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