Fruit and produce picking can be a fun and educational activities for families while social distancing.
There are several local pick-your-own farms near the New Orleans area, and now is the perfect time to plan a day trip.
It’s blueberry season, and a majority of local farms open by Memorial Day weekend.
Due to COVID-19, you’ll find some farms promoting social distancing and safety guidelines. Some changes include encouraging face masks, disinfecting tables and buckets, moving the check out process outdoors and promoting credit card usage over cash or asking for exact change. It’s best to check in with your preferred farm to find out what changes are in place.
According to John Slemmer at Pickyourown.org, first-timers should get prepared before heading out.
The folks at Pickyourown.org offered some great tips for first-timers:
Good to know before you go: Most important, always call to confirm directly with the farm the night before or morning before heading out. You want to make sure that they are open and have the crops you want to pick available. Some farms have plumbed toilets, but unless you are a fan of port-o-potties, “go” at home before you leave!
What to bring: You’re going into a field; it could be muddy, so dress appropriately. Bring boots and old trainers, not high heels or flip-flops. Bring deet along in case for mosquitos. If you are allergic to a bee sting, bring your epi-pen, just in case! Also, pack sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats for the sun. Bring water or something to drink. Many farms provide picnic tables for food you bring.
When to arrive: Many crops, especially strawberries and blueberries, ripen daily, and get picked out by late morning. So go as early as the farm opens for best selection and easiest picking. Going early also avoids the hot sun and heat!
Quick picking tips: Know how to tell when the fruit you are picking is ripe and how to pick and then store it. See this page for picking tips for almost any fruit. When you get home, spread the fruit out, pick out any smashed or damaged ones and follow the fruit-specific tips for storing.
Understand the costs: Know beforehand how much you will pick and the total cost. It’s usually best to bring cash, but you can ask beforehand if farms take credit cards. Due to COVID-19, more farms are taking cards or requiring exact change.
New Orleans area U-Pick Farms, listed by parish
St. Tammany Parish
Ridemore Ranch and Berry Farm – 22154 John T Prats Road, Covington, La. 70435 | 985-875-1965
Sunhillow Berry Farm – 33510 Magee-Mahner Road, Pearl River, La. 70452 | 985-630-1915
What to pick: Blueberries
Other available items: honey, jelly, eggs
Hours: Season opens May 22, typically through end of June; Open Friday through Sunday, daylight until dark; call before arrival
Bachman Blueberry Farm – 79126 Crump Road, Bush, La. 70431
What to pick: Blueberries (u-pick, pre-picked, frozen)
Hours: Season opened May 9; Hours are Saturday and Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or dark), Weekday times are available by appointment only. Contact via Facebook messenger or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loblolly Ridge Farm – 1000 Andrew Bankston Road, Amite, La. 70422 | 985-748-6843
3D Blueberry Farm – 41031 Highway 1056, Franklinton, La. 70438 | 985-839-2987
What to pick: Blueberries
Hours: Season opened on May 17; Hours are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. until season ends; call or check Facebook page before heading there
L and E Blueberry Farm, LLC – 27159 James Creel Road, Franklinton, La. 70438 | 504-858-3086
What to pick: Blueberries (U-pick, pre-picked)
Hours: Season opened May 15; Open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk
Know of any other great U-pick blueberry farms near the New Orleans area? Contact us to add your favorite U-pick farm to our list.
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