Strawberries? Raspberries? Blueberries? Our family debate over which is the best berry may never be resolved, but this time of year, the blueberry is everyone's favorite pick. This tart little superfood just may be the easiest fruit to pick, prepare, and serve: There's no peeling, pitting, coring, or cutting. Plus, they attract fewer natural pests other than birds, so much of the fruit is grown pesticide-free.
The pick-your-own blueberry season begins early July and continues through late August or early September. We’ve rounded up some farms in the Boston area which are beginning to open up for blueberry picking, plus we've included a few helpful tips. At the end of the post, you'll find a recipe for our favorite blueberry treat: the classic blueberry buckle.
A Few Blueberry Picking Tips
- Select plump berries that are light gray-blue in color. White- and green-colored blueberries don’t ripen after they are picked, although those that have turned purple or blue may.
- Blueberries hang on the bushes in bunches, and the easiest and fastest way to pick them is hold your bucket under the branch in one hand and with your other hand, cup a ripe bunch and gently rub them with your fingers. Ripe berries will drop into the bucket, while unripe ones remain attached to the bush.
- Always call ahead to be sure the farm is open for picking.
- Bring your own buckets as they are not always provided.
- Wear sunscreen, a hat, and clothes that can withstand some blueberry stains.
Where to Pick Your Own Blueberries
There are a range of options in the Boston area for you-pick blueberries, from full-service farms with play areas and petting zoos to small, family-run fields.
Doe Orchards - Harvard
Hours: Tue-Sat 9am-4pm
Doe has two acres of high-bush blueberries. Call ahead to confirm availability.
Turkey Hill Farm - Haverhill
Hours: Tue-Sun 8am-4pm
Containers are provided for picking the berries, and there are bathrooms and drinking water available. The farm requests that you please leave pets at home.
Boston Hill Farm - Andover
Hours: Daily 9am-7pm
The property also has a play area with picnic tables; a petting farm complete with chickens, geese, bunnies, goats, sheep and calves; and an ice cream stand with many flavors of Richardson's ice cream.
Tougas Family Farm - Northboro
Hours: Tues-Sat 8am-4:30pm
The farm is also home to a barnyard, playground, and farm kitchen that are great for kids. After picking, kids can visit the barnyard to see the goats climb a mountain of stone and then enjoy farm-fresh homemade baked goods, ice cream, and strawberry donuts at the Tougas Farm Kitchen. There's a $5 admission fee that goes toward the purchase of your fruit.
Ward’s Berry Farm - Sharon
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
There are eight varieties of blueberries to pick, and containers are provided. Visit the barnyard animals and the farm store while you're there. Sandwiches and smoothies are also available for purchase.
Parlee Farms - Tyngsboro
Hours: Tue-Sat 8am-4:30pm; Sun 8am-1pm
Call ahead to confirm availability or check Today's Farm News. Containers are provided. Children can also visit Annie's Animal Barn, which is home to over 60 farm animals. The farm stand carries local fruits and vegetables as well as homemade baked goods.
What to Do with All Those Blueberries
If by some chance you come home with more blueberries than you can eat, we’re sharing one of our all-time favorites. Enjoy!
Family Recipe: Blueberry Buckle
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugar.
3. Blend in egg.
4. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
5. Add the flour mixture alternately with milk to creamed mixture.
6. Gently fold in blueberries.
7. Pour into greased 8" square pan.
8. For topping combine ingredients and cut in butter. Sprinkle over batter.
9. Bake 40-45 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Top photo by Paul/CC BY 2.0
Originally published July 2012 and updated July 2013 by Audrey T. Updated July 2015 by Tara D. Updated June 2017 by Lucie T.