Farms & U-Pick

LI Day Trip: The Little Red Barn in Jamesport

One of my favorite things to do with the kids over the summer is to take some day trips to the East End to enjoy everything it has to offer for families. From pick your own farms to frolicking on the area’s beautiful beaches, there is plenty to keep the kids occupied while school is out of session.

A few weeks ago, we got the chance to explore one of the North Fork’s gems: The Little Red Barn in Jamesport. Ten years ago, Kate Nickles and her husband bought 40 acres of land, including the barn that was the original home to the carousel that is now in Greenport. In addition to building their dream home on the property, Kate, a native to the area and a lifelong horse rider, decided to open The Little Red Barn to pass down her knowledge and love for horses and other farm animals to local and visiting children.

Blueberry Picking in Connecticut: Pick Your Own Farms

Come and pick 'em folks! The following is a list of Connecticut farms that grow pick-your-own blueberries. Look at the map to the right to find one in your area. Here's a yummy blueberry pie recipe that will make all tummies happy, and make use of the plethora of fruit you are surely to have fun picking.

Fresh blueberries are in their prime from mid-July through mid-August. When picking, select berries that are firm, dry, plump, smooth-skinned, and completely blue. The fruit is often covered with a light white coating called "bloom," which helps prevent deterioration. Water on blueberries accelerates rotting, so don't wash them until you are ready to use them. If you store freshly picked berries in the refrigerator, unwashed and covered, they should last up to two weeks. Freezing is always a good option, too. For raspberries and other fresh picked fruit - check out our Pick Your Own Fruit Farm Guide.

Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms in Connecticut

Right now, strawberry picking is just getting under way, but don't hesitate: on some farms the picking season lasts just a few weeks. Happy picking, and baking, and eating!  Not only is picking your own fruit a fun family activity, it's also a great way to teach children about where their food comes from and to engage them in its preparation process. For more pick-your-own options check out our posts about strawberry picking in Hartford County and blueberry picking farms.

Strawberry Festivals Around Boston This Summer

Strawberry picking is a nice, low-key summer activity to enjoy with the kids, but sometimes you want to kick it up a notch. These Boston-area farms, markets and restaurants are doing exactly that with June festivals featuring hayrides, bouncy houses, live entertainment and fun for kids. There's also plenty of strawberry shortcake to try, plus other delightful treats, too.

So bring your kids and your appetite: It's time to celebrate strawberry season!

Pick Your Own Blueberries, Raspberries and More Fruit Near NYC

The strawberry season is short and sweet near NYC. If, like me, you can't squeeze a trip to a strawberry patch into your family's schedule, plan instead an outing for juicy blueberry, blackberry and raspberry picking when school is out. These berries are usually in season July through the end of August and some farms even have a second crop of raspberries that ripen later in the summer, and of course, there will be peach picking come August. So there is plenty of time for your family to get a fruit picking session in.  

Berry picking is great for families with younger kids, because fruit is often low to the ground and can be plucked off the bush without a lift from an adult. The experience can also be more pleasant than a day at the farm in the busy and chilly fall season. With fewer people and less agri-tainment, kids are less distracted from picking. 

We've got 18 spots in the tristate area, all less than 2 hours from NYC—including one accessible by mass transit—and perfect for a family berry picking outing, plus our helpful been-there-done-that tips. A word of caution: Approximate driving times below do not include traffic. You'll probably run into some, especially on summer weekends near the entrances to popular farms. 

Check out our comprehensive guide to all the nearby pick-your-own farms for everything from peaches to flowers and veggies.

Connecticut Farmers' Markets and Farm Stands Kids Will Love

Connecticut has more than 100 certified CT Grown Farmers' Markets in the state, so it is easy to take the family out for a fun day of shopping for fresh, local produce. Many of the markets are mini destinations where children can be entertained while learning about the importance and nutrition of locally grown food. We love to pick our own berries when they are in season, too, so check out our list of our favorite Pick Your Own Farms in CT.

Here are suggestions on kid-friendly markets, so get out there, eat some healthy food, have fun, and explore! 

NJ Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms & Strawberry Festivals

If warm weather and day trips are things your family enjoys, grab the little ones and take them strawberry picking! It’s an outdoor adventure with a sweet reward—what kid doesn’t love red, ripe strawberries? New Jersey may be known for its tomatoes and blueberries, but we’ve also got some great places to pick your own strawberries once the season starts in late May. Looking for more outdoor fun in NJ? Check out our roundups of May festivals and 25 things to do this spring with kids.

Where To Pick Strawberries with Kids Near Boston

In the realm of pick-your-own, I don't think there's a better fruit for kids to pluck than the strawberry. The plants are close to the ground and the berries are accessible without having to reach way into the plant. Ripe berries are clustered together, so kids have the satisfaction of picking a lot in a short period of time. And no prickers!

June is "strawberry month" and most farms are open for picking by mid-month; some are ready even sooner. Read on for farms where you can pick your own strawberries, followed by tips for getting the most out of the experience. 

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