Since the kids were small, we’ve been visiting farms every summer to pick fruit. It’s been very important for me to teach them the benefits of picking our own fruit, but also how this is part of our heritage.
I grew up with a backyard of fruit trees. I’m talking persimmons, grapefruit, plums, guavas, and apricots, just to name a few. I played amongst the very fruit we ate. The scent of fruit trees is imprinted in my mind. I thought this was the life for everyone. My grandfather made us appreciate the fruit and how to care for our plants and trees. It was part of our everyday life.
Today, I make it a point to visit farms with my family. We don’t have the luxury of having these fruits in our backyard. We visit our local farms to pick strawberries, blueberries, apples, cherries, peaches, and even corn! These visits are special and make me feel at home. We also make special trips during Halloween and Christmas to pick our special pumpkins and check out the trees!
This year, as the kids understand more, our conversations as we walk the fields with our baskets have become more in depth. They ask so many questions about how the fruit was planted, how it grows, who puts in the ground. They ask how much we can pick and how much we can bring home. They ask if we can make shakes and when we will visit again.
It’s always a memorable time to stop by the farms and pick fruit. The benefits of picking fruit are huge, both in culture and health.
Here are 10 reasons you may want to pick fruit, too:
10 reasons to pick fruit from local farms 1 of 11
Know where your fruit comes from 2 of 11
There is a great sense of pride when you know where your fruit was grown, rather than picking from a box in a store that has had a long trip to the market. It's one of the greatest benefits in picking your own fruit from local farms.
Save money on fruit 3 of 11
Most times, picking fruit at your local farm can be cheaper because of the season or sales (buy 3 lbs get 3 free). You don't have to pay the price of your fruit being imported, because you are picking it yourself.
Learn about organic fruit 4 of 11
It's a great benefit to learn what pesticides are used at your local farm; you can just ask. Since the fruit doesn't have to be preserved for a long time from the moment it's picked, fewer chemicals, if any, are used on your produce.
Know the longevity 5 of 11
From the minute you pick it, your fruit will last longer than those you potentially pick up at the grocery store (fruit at the store was likely picked days and days ago). You'll have more time to plan a menu for your family with certain dishes you may want to serve.
Learn to more about fruit you eat 6 of 11
Learning more about the fruit you eat is a great reason to visit local farms to pick fruit. During our visits, we not only learned about different types of the same fruit, but also how to pick them properly. Every fruit needs to be handled and picked with care. Also, not all fruit can be picked at the same time. Learning what to pick and how is very important.
Make it a family adventure 7 of 11
Our farm provides hayrides to the picking grounds, and the farmer driving usually shouts out facts about the farm. There are also different activities at farms besides picking. Our farm has a petting zoo, a playground with real tractors to climb, and a food market with lots of fresh fruit.
Learn about farms 8 of 11
And if visiting the farm alone for picking fruit wasn't enough, how about learning about your local farms? Every farm is different. Learn how a farm works and the different machines and jobs that go into growing the fruit accessible at the farms.
Learn how fresh the fruit is 9 of 11
Fruit can't be any fresher than when picked straight off a vine or tree. Farmers on property will direct you to the area that is ripe and ready for picking. If not, it's very easy to ask.
Appreciate hard work of picking fruit 10 of 11
It's not easy to pick fruit, but the benefits are well worth it. I explain to my kids that we get tired of picking after just an hour, but our relatives picked for a living under the scorching sun for hours and hours a day. It's a job, and someone has to do it. It doesn't matter if we pick or buy in the store — someone is picking the fruit.
Support local farms 11 of 11
Supporting our farms is a great way to help our economy, our environment, and our fellow neighbors.
Looking for a place to pick fruit in your area visit PickYourOwn.org
Read more of Ruby’s writing at Growing Up Blackxican