The last couple of weeks have been quite hot and sticky due to a heat wave that has passed through the northeast. However do not let the weather put a damper on your fun. This month brings new fruit ready to pick for the season. On Long Island the current buzz are pick-your-own peaches, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Patty’s Berries and Bunches announced on their website that their blackberries are ready early this year. A couple of weeks ago I went out to Lewin Farms for peach picking and Patty’s for blueberries.
Lewin Farms in Wading River is one of the farms in Long Island that offer pick-your-own peaches. I like to go to this farm for peach picking over the others because the peaches are bigger and sweeter. Also the price is very reasonable at $1 per pound. When picking for peaches, you want to make sure that the skin of the peach is mostly red. A ripe peach should be fragrant and slightly soft. If the peach appears to be more yellowish and hard, then it needs more time to ripen. If the peach appears to be mushy or show signs of deterioration (mold, cuts or bruising), it is best to leave them alone. Make sure to check for holes on the fruit. This indicates that insects may have gotten into the fruit. The only difficulty is that Lewin Farms gives you plastic bags to collect your peaches. This could make carrying your peaches a bit difficult to carry when the weight increases. Payment for the peaches is made after collecting your fruit.
Lewin Farms also offer blueberries, raspberries and blackberries ready to pick at a location just about a quarter of a mile further east on Sound Avenue past the big farmstand. The berries are also paid by the pound after collection. Lewin Farms also offers other fruits and vegetables to pick though out the year.
Patty’s is my go to place for berry picking and the blueberries are no exception. Every year I go blueberry picking at Patty’s, there is never an upset in the quality or size of the fruit. These blueberries are not comparable to your grocery market blueberries. The fruit are about as big as the size of pennies and bursting with flavor. These blueberries are great for making jelly, jam, pie, cobbler or as is. The cost of the blueberries is $5 per pint. Each person is required to buy one pint as an entrance fee.
Here are some tips for keeping your fruit:
– After returning from the farm, place your fruit on a flat tray to prevent the fruit becoming mushy being piled on top of each other
-Before consuming any fruit, ALWAYS wash them. You never know what has been on or touched them before you got your hands on them.
-To prolong the freshness of the fruit, store them inside the refrigerator. The summer heat and humidity can cause the fruit to spoil faster. Especially if a heat wave comes again.
-Try to consume your fruit within a day or two at most. Berries have a tendency to spoil faster than stone fruits (peaches). Raspberries are very susceptible to quick spoilage due to their hollow centers. You can also turn your fruit into jams, jelly or preserves.
Going fruit picking is a great activity for the family, couples and friends to enjoy. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and get to your next food-venture.
If you would like to visit Lewin Farms or Patty’s Berries & Bunches, refer to the information below and make sure to check the farms to see what is available before going.
To find your own local farms that offer pick-your-own fruits and vegetables, visit http://www.pickyourown.org/
Lewin Farms (Currently for Peaches, Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries)
812 Sound Avenue
Wading River, NY 11792
Call ahead before going to see if pick-your-own is open for the day. There will be a voice recording
Patty’s Berries and Bunches (Currently for Blueberries and Blackberries)
410 Sound Avenue
Mattituck, NY 11952
Rain or Shine June through October 9 am to 6pm, Last pick-your-own admission at 5:30pm
Check out my new savory and sweet recipes for peaches: